This book explores the relationship between the Bible and the world of music, an association that is recorded from ancient times in the Old Testament, and one that has continued to characterize the cultural self-expression of Western Civilization ever since. The study surveys the emergence of this close relationship in the era following the end of the Roman Empire and through the Middle Ages, taking particular note of the role of Gregorian chant, folk music and the popularity of mystery, morality and passion plays in reflection of the Sacred Scripture and its themes during those times. With the emergence of polyphony and the advent of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, the interaction between the Bible and music increased dramatically, culminating in the evolution of opera and oratorio as specific genres during the Renaissance and the Early Baroque period. Both these genres have proved essential to the interplay between sacred revelation and the various types of music that have come to determine cultural expression in the history of Europe. The book initially provides an overview of how the various themes and types of Biblical literature have been explored in the story of Western music. It then looks closely at the role of oratorio and opera over four centuries, considering the most famous and striking examples and considering how the music has responded in different ages to the sacred text and narrative. The last chapter examines how biblical theology has been used to dramatic purpose in a particular operatic genre that of French Grand Opera. The academic apparatus includes an iconography, a detailed bibliography and an index of biblical and musical references, themes and subjects.
___________________________________ About the Author
Robert Ignatius Letellier was educated in Grahamstown, Cambridge, Salzburg, Rome and Jerusalem. He is a member of Trinity College, Cambridge, the Meyerbeer Institute Schloss Thurnau at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, the Salzburg Centre for Research in the Early English Novel, the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, and the Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge. His publications number over 100 items, including books and articles on the late-seventeenth-, eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century novel (particularly the Gothic novel and Sir Walter Scott), the Bible (the Abraham Cycle, covenant, narrative theology, and homiletics), and European culture. He has specialized in the Romantic opera, especially the work of Giacomo Meyerbeer, and has also written on Daniel-François-Esprit Auber, the Opéra-Comique, Ludwig Minkus and the Romantic Ballet, and the Operetta.