Musical Exoticism. The Mediterranean and Beyond in the Long Nineteenth Century


edited by Michael Christoforidis and Ramón Sobrino, Turnhout, Brepols, 2024 (Speculum Musicae, 53).

The sound image of Otherness has been a significant source of inspiration for Western music, especially since the late eighteenth century. Encounters with the racial and geographical Other fomented interest in unfamiliar musical traditions, which informed exotic projections by Western composers. This volume explores aspects of musical exoticism and its staging during the long nineteenth century, with a special focus on the Mediterranean. This diverse and yet historically interconnected region was arguably the heart of the exotic enterprise during this period. The intersection of exoticism, nationalism and empire is considered, with a special focus on the situation of Spain as both source of local colour and purveyor of musical exoticism.
The essays in this volume explore elements of exoticism across a range of musical styles: from song to opera and the popular musical stage, and from instrumental to symphonic works. The analysis of this corpus also involves the examination of musical culture in dialogue with literature and figurative arts. While many of the essays focus on constructions of exoticism in individual works, several essays focus on repertories of musical exoticism and their coverage in musicological literature.

Michael Christoforidis is Professor of Musicology at the University of Melbourne, and he has published extensively on Spanish music and its impact on Western culture. Other research interests include the visual arts and musical modernism, national identity and exoticism in music, and the history of the acoustic guitar. His monographs include Manuel de Falla and Visions of Spanish Music (Routledge, 2017) and Carmen and the Staging of Spain (with Elizabeth Kertesz, Oxford University Press, 2018).

Ramón Sobrino is Professor of Musicology at the University of Oviedo (Spain), where he has directed forty doctoral theses. His main field of research is music analysis, with specialisation in analytical methodologies, and Spanish music. He has published symphonic works by Monasterio, Bretón, Marqués Chapí, Torrandell, Zubiaurre, Sarasate, and others and edited Spanish Lyric works by Barbieri, Arrieta, Gaztambide, Chueca, Serrano and Rodrigo.

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