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Musicology Colloquium: Ellen Lockhart, "Reicha’s Things: Decomposition, Imaginary Illness, and the Origins of Formal Analysis" (Lenore Coral Memorial Lecture)

Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 4:30pm

Lincoln Hall, 124
Dept of Music, 101 Lincoln Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-4101, USA

Ellen Lockhart has been Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Toronto since 2014. Lockhart received her PhD from Cornell University in 2011, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University from 2011-14. Her articles have appeared in RepresentationsEighteenth-Century Music, and the Cambridge Opera Journal. Her book Animation, Plasticity, and Music in Italy, 1770-1830 (2017) was published by the University of California Press, with an AMS75 Book Subvention Prize. With James Davies (UCBerkeley) she co-edited a volume entitled Sound Knowledge: Music and Science in London, 1789-1851, published by the University of Chicago Press. She co-edited (with Michael Burden, Wendy Heller, and Jonathan Hicks) a volume on Staging History, 1780-1840 (Oxford, 2016), to accompany an exhibition on London theatre history at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Her critical edition of Puccini’s “Wild West opera” La fanciulla del West had its premiere at La Scala in 2016 under the baton of Riccardo Chailly. With Sarah Hibberd, she is General Editor of the Cambridge Opera Journal.


This paper takes as its point of departure the meticulous probate inventory compiled after the death of the Czech-born music pedagogue and composer Antoine Reicha, who died in Paris in 1836 after decades of teaching at the Conservatoire. In addition to providing unprecedented insight into the wealth and material existence of a bourgeois musician in Paris in the 1820s, the probate inventory — which catalogues everything Reicha owned at the time of his death, from his used underclothes, lamps, pots and pans, to his library and manuscripts — grants new insights into the preoccupations and influences of this musician. In particular, I draw attention to the objects close at hand that lent terminology to Reicha’s most important contribution to the history of music theory: namely, his speciation of sonata form. Finally, I suggest that Reicha’s probate inventory can encourage us to consider the values and dangers of the recent material turn within musicology.

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Lecture, Music


Department of Music




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