In the Loop
Faculty News : Aug 15, 2017

Dr. Jennifer Thomas presents research in Bloomington, Salzburg and Prague

Dr. Jennifer Thomas, associate professor of music at UF, and her British collaborator, Mathew Alec Gouldstone, presented research and performances at three international conferences this summer. Gouldstone sings professionally in the United Kingdom and Europe with acclaimed early music performance groups: as a full-time singer with Capilla Flamenca and as an independent freelance artist with such groups as the Tallis Scholars, Huelgas Ensemble, Cinquecento, Cappella Praetensis, La Grande Chapelle, the Monteverdi Choir and others.

For the past year, Gouldstone and Dr. Thomas have actively and continuously combined their perspectives from their disciplines of vocal performance and musicology to enrich their work; that collaboration shaped each of this summer’s three distinct presentations. Gouldstone also co-directed this year’s Motet Camp at UF from May 2-6 as an energetic and insightful ensemble coach.

On May 20, 2017, they discussed “Making Sense in Sound: Singing as Research in Late Fifteenth-Century Polyphony” at Indiana University’s second international conference on historically informed performance, Historical Performance: Theory, Practice, and Interdisciplinarity. This presentation addressed key issues in early music performance:

1. The high qualifications historically attributed to singers of the period, and the difficulty for modern singers of mastering the necessary skills

2. The impact of individual voices on the composition and presentation of Renaissance polyphony

3. Understanding what aspects of the music are rewarding to singers

4. The problem of relying on modern scores in performance of the music, along with possible solutions

5. The differences in decision-making processes between performers and scholars

On June 29, 2017, Gouldstone and Dr. Thomas presented in Salzburg, Austria, a joint paper and lecture recital at a conference celebrating the completion of the collected works edition of Gaspar van Weerbeke. Their presentation, Josquin, Gaspar and Franchinus: Style, Structure, and Performance of the Motet Cycles, examined the sources and styles of Milanese chapel music by Weerbeke and his close contemporary, Josquin des Prez.

At the annual Medieval-Renaissance musicology conference, held this year in Prague from July 4–8, 2017, their lecture recital, Repertory and Readings from Codex Speciálník: Agricola, Ghiselin, Josquin, and Anonymous, examined late additions to a manuscript copied in Prague in the late fifteenth century, contextualizing the added works among the international compositional trends of the 1480s and 1490s.