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Priest, Organist, Composer: Repositioning Sumaya

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 9:00:00 AM America/Chicago

By Drew Edward Davies

My interest in Manuel de Sumaya (1678–1755) began in graduate school, over two decades ago, when I started to research music from New Spain. At that time, the historiography positioned Sumaya—a near-contemporary of J. S. Bach born in Mexico City—as a progressive composer who introduced New Spain to fashionable Italian music. Around 2002, during dissertation research in north-central Mexico at Durango Cathedral, I located a villancico for St. Peter by Sumaya that had been virtually unknown. It was evident in that piece that, despite the composer’s progressive reputation, the music exhibited an older seventeenth-century style with erudite harmonic and contrapuntal elements. Finally, subsequent cataloging work with the Musicat Project in Mexico City brought me into contact with the corpus I would later edit for A-R editions, a series of villancicos that Sumaya wrote for religious services at Mexico City Cathedral during the 1710s and 20s. Through the process of editing these villancicos for A-R Editions, I came to interpret Sumaya in a different light, one that repositions him as a composer but perhaps appreciates him more are a multifaceted priest-musician.

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Protip: Rhythmic Values of Notes and rests

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 9:00:00 AM America/Chicago

By A-R's house editors

In general, all the rhythmic values in an A-R Recent Researches edition should be transcribed from their source in a 1:1 ratio. That said, it is almost always necessary to make some small graphical adjustments to both notes and rests from most sources. Here is a quick guide to A-R house style for the graphical presentation of notes and rests.

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Comments | Posted in Protips on Editing By A-R Editions

Bringing to Light Music at Dublin Castle: J. S. Kusser’s Serenatas

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 9:00:00 AM America/Chicago

By Samantha Owens

In some ways, it feels as though Johann Sigismund Kusser (or, as he was known in early eighteenth-century Ireland, John Sigismond Cousser) has been following me around since the 1990s, when, during the course of my Ph.D. research, I first became aware of the brief period he was employed as Württemberg court kapellmeister. Born in 1660 in Bratislava (at that time Pressburg, Hungary), Kusser moved to Stuttgart with his family while still a teenager, before going on to study music in France. His professional career began in the early 1680s with a string of kapellmeister appointments at different German courts, as well as several years in Hamburg. After two and a half years working in England as a freelancer, Kusser arrived in Dublin, where he lived the remaining twenty years of his life. Over the course of those years, Kusser would compose and direct performances of more than twenty semi-staged serenatas at Dublin Castle, before the elite audience of the Irish viceregal court.

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Passing the Baton

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 9:00:00 AM America/Chicago

Series editor Steven Saunders passes the baton to Alexander Fisher.

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Comments | Posted in News By A-R Editions

By Alexander Dean

As an undergraduate guitar major at the University of Akron in the early 1990s, I entered the library with a seemingly straightforward task: to find the score of Johann Sebastian Bach’s third cello suite, which I would be learning on guitar that semester. The card catalog had by that time been superseded by an online catalog, into which I entered these terms in various combinations. But although I received numerous “hits,” none seemed to promise what I was looking for; instead, I found a confusing multitude of recordings, arrangements, and other loosely related items. The ease and power of the online catalog had lured me into a mindset that allowed for a broader semantic representation of a piece of music than I had actually wanted. Now, in 2020, as an editor of critical editions, I wonder about the ramifications of that mindset—a universal change now that readers use general internet searches to interact with musical scores.

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