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Miraeus Lecture: Paradigmatic Prints and Particular Performances: Religious and musical identities in the liturgical books of the Cathedral of Our Lady and the Church of St. James, Antwerp

Spreker: Marianne C.E. Gillion (KU Leuven)
Datum: 27 maart 2019, 19 uur
Nottebohmzaal van de Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience
Hendrik Conscienceplein 4
B-2000 Antwerpen
Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience

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The Cathedral of Our Lady and the Church of Saint James were two of the leading institutions in Counter Reformation Antwerp, yet relatively little is known about their liturgical music. Celebrations of divine worship were performative expressions of overlapping institutional, regional, and municipal identities. They could signal conformity with ecclesiastical edicts and allegiance to civil authorities, but could also function as protests against these powers. Plainchant was the essential sonic element of the liturgy; it was the music most commonly performed by the choir and experienced by the congregation. Consequently, it served both to craft and to communicate religious identities. This lecture will explore how the liturgical music at the Cathedral and at Saint James reflected various identities during the early modern period. The institutions’ surviving books, which include items produced by local printers such as Plantin, Trognesius, and Verdussen, reveal the tensions that could exist between episcopal mandates and local traditions. Musical dissent at imposed liturgical changes following the Council of Trent was eventually replaced with an uneasy alliance between old and new forms of worship. The particular became increasingly combined with the universal as the clerics negotiated shifting political and ecclesiastical landscapes. New musical traditions were experimented with and embraced as the Cathedral and Saint James were reinvented as bastions of Counter Reformation Catholicism.


Marianne C.E. Gillion studied music at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and at Trinity Western University (BA, 2010). She received her Master of Arts in Music from Bangor University (2012). In 2015 she completed her PhD in musicology at The University of Manchester with a thesis entitled, ‘“Diligentissime emendatum, atque correctum”? The transmission and revision of plainchant in Italian printed graduals, 1499–1653’. From 2016–2017 she was a research assistant on the project Music printing in German-speaking lands: From the 1470s to the mid-16th century at the University of Salzburg. In November 2017 she joined KU Leuven and the Alamire Foundation as a postdoctoral researcher with her project, Singing the liturgy after Trent: An examination of early modern Antwerp. On 1 October 2018 she began an FWO postdoctoral research project, According to Antwerp, Reformed to Rome: Music, Liturgies, and Identities in the Bishopric of Antwerp (1559–1801). Marianne’s research interests include the use of plainchant in Reformation liturgies from German-speaking areas and in Counter-Reformation liturgies from Italy and the Low Countries.


De Miraeus Lectures zijn een initiatief van de Vlaamse Werkgroep Boekgeschiedenis en genieten de steun van:
– Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience, Antwerpen,
– vzw Vereniging van Antwerpse Bibliofielen,
– Cultura Fonds Bibliotheek te Dilbeek