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Melting the Venusberg: A Feminist Theology of Music

Melting the Venusberg: A Feminist Theology of Music (Paperback)

£31.99
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Synopsis

This book begins with a pointed critique of the foundations of the understanding of Western music: music from Pythagoras to the Renaissance has been viewed as the source and model of order in the universe and in society. Unfortunately, that order was rigidly hierarchical so that, over the centuries, music reinforced established social prejudices, particularly those against women. Nowhere was this more evident than in religious music, which was regarded by male ecclesiastics and scholars as the instrument of choice for taming hysterical, womb-wandering female eruptions. Through her mordant commentary on a rich selection of texts by major thinkers from two millennia of Christian theology, Heidi Epstein shows in the first part of Melting the Venusberg that music as the erotic embodiment of human engenderment has been ignored or suppressed, while music as the expression of transcendent harmony, order, and restraint has been extolled.

Her treatment of traditionalist repressive tactics is an insightful subversion of conventional theologies of music, as well as a hilarious expose of male theologians emoting, fatuously and prolixly, over this or that 'divine,' 'sublime', 'celestial' composer - Bach and Mozart being the main victims of these effusions. The second, reconstructive part of Melting the Venusberg draws on ignored sources and lost tropes from the Christian tradition as well as on insights from the music and thought of historical and contemporary woman composers and performers, from Hildegard of Bingen and Lucrezia Vizzana, to Rosetta Tharpe and Diamanda Galas. Through this recuperative synthesis, music's theological significance changes keys, as it moves beyond its symbolic function as divinely ordained, harmonious microcosm into more dissonant metaphorical registers. Those who have ears to hear will be delighted.

Music & DanceDanceTheory of music & musicologyMusic & DanceMusic BooksTechniques of music / music tutorialsPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesSocial issues & processesFeminism & feminist theoryReligion & BeliefsChristianityChristian theology Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC Publication Date: 15/10/2004 ISBN-13: 9780826416483  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: Printed to order. Despatched in 2-3 weeks.  

A native of Newfoundland, Heidi Epstein has graduate degrees in music history and religious studies from McGill University, where she was also a church organist and choir director. She is currently on the faculty of religious studies at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.

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