La música: poema por Tomás de Irarte, edited by Bruce A. Boggs.
In this first-ever critical edition of La música, Bruce A. Boggs examines the cultural significance of Tomás de Iriarte’s poem, taking an interdisciplinary approach that seeks to reconstruct the musical and literary contexts which informed this singular work. Iriarte’s La música began as an entertaining project for friends and fellow musicians who gathered in musical tertulias known as Academias de Armonía. Soon, Iriarte would expand his work to five cantos and approximately 2,840 verses which included a prologue and appended notes. La música, which would become Spain’s most significant contribution to didactic poetry and one of the few Peninsular works in the eighteenth century that was translated into other European languages, was published in an elegant edition by the Imprenta Real in 1779. Fifteen editions of Iriarte’s poem would circulate in Europe and the Americas before the end of the nineteenth century.
Through a comprehensive introduction and extensive footnotes, Boggs explores the intersections among genre, theory, and practice where two distinct media–poetry and music–coincide in a text whose purpose is didactic. The critical introduction argues for the uniqueness of the poem in the Spanish and European contexts, its objectives and its timeliness in a period in which the middleclass emerges as consumers of and amateur participants in musical culture. Iriarte’s musicianship and his work as a composer; the social meaning of musical practice in eighteenth-century Spain; the junction of aesthetics, music history, theory and practice in the poem; myth, imagery and the pastoral mode; and reception and extant editions of La música are subjects of the remaining sections of the introduction.
This project advances our understanding of Tomás de Iriarte’s poem, and its relation to works by musical contemporaries J. J. Rousseau, Antonio Rodríguez de Hita, and Antonio Eximeno. Reading La música in the context of the limited Enlightenment program in Spain, and within the period of heightened theoretical speculation about music in Europe, Iriarte emerges as one of Spain’s principal apologists for music as a tool for the moral development of the individual and the nation as a whole, and La música stands as one of the quintessential Enlightenment texts that speaks for the Cultural transformation of society.
Series: Ediciones críticas, #33
ISBN 978-1-58871-108-3 (PB) $30