For the first time, Dr. David Whitwell presents a thorough study of the performance of music in society together with the philosophical views on art versus entertainment, the role of performance in education and character formation and how earlier philosophers viewed the interplay among Reason, Emotions, experience and the senses. The present volume reveals a performance practice by the leading French composers which extends far beyond what appears on the page, in particular their joining their European colleagues in the emphasis on expressing emotions in music.
This period included an extraordinary burst of philosophical thought on the nature of music and the ways in which French music contrasted with the Italian practice. All of these leading philosophers are treated extensively in this volume. Among these philosophers was Marin Mersenne (1588–1648), a very influential man of his time whose great encyclopedia on music, the Harmonie universelle (1636) has never been published in a complete English edition. The English reader will find here the most complete material from this great work to be found today. Finally, this period of French history includes two very influential thinkers, Descartes and Voltaire, whose thoughts on music are given extensive representation in this volume.