Uno gentile et subtile ingenio, Studies in Renaissance Music, in Honour of Bonnie J. Blackburn
edited by M. Jennifer Bloxam, Gioia Filocamo and Leofranc Holford-Strevens
Turnhout, Brepols Publishers, 2009
Collection Épitome musical
ISBN 978-2-503-53163-2, 877 pages, 19 x 29 cm
Uno gentile et subtile ingenio' is a perfect description for Bonnie in words that we have appropriated from a Renaissance music theorist she knows full well: they stand in Giovanni Spataro's letter of 30 October 1527 to Giovanni del Lago. This phrase successfully encapsulates the best in the person and the scholar, the penetrating intelligence and sensitive humanity that delight in the progress of knowledge. To meet Bonnie is to value her, even though she does very little to make herself noticed. She is unaffected and unobtrusive, but at the same time understands life and is friendly with everyone. A great gift needed to be found for her, rich in personal acknowledgements and valuable for the discipline to which Bonnie devotes so much energy every day of her life. Gioia had been thinking of this for several years, until the gentile et subtile ingenio began to take shape in the refined profile of Leonardo da Vinci's Scapiliata...
The project for this Festschrift crystallized in 2003. Gioia Filocamo had been thinking of it for some time, but was well aware that an undertaking of this kind could not be realized without help. When she was in the States, Gioia discussed the idea with Herbert Kellman; he gave his whole-hearted approval, and added that a good Englishspeaking Renaissance scholar should be enlisted as a co-editor. They both thought it obvious and natural that Leofranc should be involved, and Herbert expressed his willingness to be part of the team. Leofranc Holford-Strevens was very excited by the idea. The three of them were agreed that one more editor should be recruited, and that Jennifer Bloxam would be an excellent choice; luckily she accepted with enthusiasm. At a certain point Herbert preferred to withdraw from the whole editing work, which is why his name does not appear on the cover. The three editors wish to thank him for his very useful help in the first stage of the labours: without Herbert's contribution
this book might well have met with a different fate. Early decisions had to be made about the nature of the Festschrift. Bonnie has so many musicological friends that it seemed invidious to select only a handful; on the other hand, if every potential contributor were to be included, the bulk would become unmanageable. It was therefore decided to restrict its scope to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (with a little leeway at the edges), but within that range to invite Preface contributions from as many people as possible whom Bonnie had had as colleagues or whom she had assisted; senior doyens of the field would thus share the pages with younger scholars on equal terms. We also wished to liberate Continental contributors from the tyranny of the English language that a UK or US publisher would impose on them; for that reason we welcomed the opportunity of publication in Philippe Vendrix's series Épitome musical. This had the further consequence that Englishlanguage contributions could be published either in British English, edited in the style of the Oxford University Press, or in American English according to the Chicago Manual of Style, without the subordination of one to the other that would have resulted from publication in Great Britain or the United States.
Because we envisaged so many contributions, the individual articles had to be brief, making their points without bibliographical overkill and without smothering new matter beneath the History of the Question, or as Gioia put it incominciare dagli Etruschi. Our authors rose nobly to the challenge. As we expected, those approached were very glad to contribute, or very apologetic that they could not; in the end sixty-six articles were obtained, which we spent well over three years editing and discussing with their authors. This was a far more congénial process than it often proves, owing to the universal goodwill towards our honorand. We were gratified to find that we could divide the essays into sections that reflected Bonnie's own scholarly interests: on composition and counterpoint, on music in the service of devotion, on musical biography, on manuscripts, on specific pieces of music, on its production and consumption, and on teachers and theorists.
We hope that this volume will approach being an adequate tribute to the person who has done so much to enrich so many people's personal and scholarly lives, but also that it will in its own right be a worthy contribution to our common field of study.