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Sound Remains, 1627
November 9, 2018 @ 3:15 pm - 4:15 pmFree
Featuring Erika Honisch from Stony Brook University
This talk is about remains: saints and their toes and skin and other bits of flesh; the material traces of music and other sounds. In 1627, the body of St. Norbert of Xanten was transferred from Magdeburg to Prague. The ritualized rescue of this obscure twelfth-century saint from the clutches of German Lutherans occasioned magnificent processions not only in Prague, but also in distant Antwerp, which had tried and failed (twice) to acquire Norbert’s body. Texts that describe the processions suggest that sounds could do for Catholic propagandists what images could not: motets, trumpet calls, the creaks of heavy machinery, could sound and resound. In this world, echoes – like the fragments of saintly bodies – were powerful: they were, to those who listened, louder than their sources. Tracing the routes of these rival 1627 processions, I seek out the ways their sounds traveled, and uncover the histories they inscribed.
NHC guest speaker; co-sponsored with Duke University