Recomposing the Past is a book concerned with the complex but important ways in which we engage with the past in modern times. Contributors examine how media on stage and screen uses music, and in particular early music, to evoke and recompose a distant past. Culture, popular and otherwise, is awash with a stylise - sometimes contradictory - musical history. And yet for all its complexities, these representations of the past through music are integral to how our contemporary and collective imaginations understand history. More importantly, they offer a valuable insight into how we understand our musical present. Such representative strategies, the book argues, cross generic boundaries, and as such it brings together a range of multimedia discussion on the subjects of film (Lord of the Rings, Dangerous Liasions), television (Game of Thrones, The Borgias), videogame (Dragon Warrior, Gauntlet), and opera (Written on Skin, Taverner, English ‘dramatick opera’). This collection constitutes a significant, and interdisciplinary, contribution to a growing literature which is unpacking our ongoing creative dialogue with the past. Divided into three complementary sections, grouped not by genre or media but by theme, it considers: ‘Authenticity, Appropriateness, and Recomposing the Past’, ‘Music, Space, and Place: Geography as History’, and ‘Presentness and the Past: Dialogues between Old and New’. Like the musical collage that is our shared multimedia historical soundscape, it is hoped that this collection is, in its eclecticism, more than the sum of its parts.
About the Author
James Cook is a lecturer in Early Music at the University of Edinburgh. He works on the long fifteenth century as well as early music in the popular media of film, television, and videogame.
Alexander Kolassa is an Early Career Fellow at the Institute of Musical Research. He is a composer and academic interested in contemporary music and modernism, medievalism, and new media.
Adam Whittaker is a postdoctoral researcher at Birmingham City University. He works on medieval and Renaissance music theory, alongside interests in early music in popular media.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Understanding the Present through the Past; the Past through the Present James Cook, Alexander Kolassa, and Adam Whittaker Part 1: Authenticity, Appropriateness, and Recomposing the Past Chapter 1: Representing Renaissance Rome: Beyond Anachronism in Showtimes The Borgias (2011) James Cook Chapter 2: Baroque à la Hitchcock: The Music of Dangerous Liaisons (1988) Mervyn Cooke Chapter 3: ‘Frame not my Lute’: The Musical Tudor Court on the Big Screen Daniela Fountain Chapter 4: It Ain’t Over ‘til King Arthur Sings: English Dramatick Opera on the Modern Stage Katherina Lindekens Part 2: Music, Space, and Place: Geography as History Chapter 5: Musical Divisions of the Sacred and Secular in 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' Adam Whittaker Chapter 6: Celtic Music and Hollywood Cinema: Representation, Stereotype, and Affect Simon Nugent Chapter 7: David Munrow’s ‘Turkish Nightclub Piece’ Edward Breen Chapter 8: Little Harmonic Labyrinths: Baroque Musical Style on the Nintendo Entertainment System William Gibbons Part 3: Presentness and the Past: Dialogues between Old and New Chapter 9: Presentness and the Past in Contemporary British Opera Alexander Kolassa Chapter 10: Angels in the Archive: Animating the Past in 'Written on Skin' Maria Ryan Chapter 11: Werner Herzog and the Filmic Dark Arts: Myth, Truth, Music, and the Life of Carlo Gesualdo (1566–1613) Philip Weller Chapter 12: Medievalism, Music, and Agency in The Wicker Man (1973) Lisa Colton Chapter 13: Music in Fantasy Pasts: Neomedievalism and 'Game of Thrones' James Cook, Alexander Kolassa, and Adam Whittaker