Eventalk Rosi Braidotti: 'Music, Drugs and Emancipation'
On Aug 29 - Sept 6, the Utrecht Early Music Festival, in collaboration with the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University and Residenties in Utrecht, invites you for a daily contemplation, with live music. The second Eventalk on August 30 will be delivered by Prof. Rosi Braidotti (Utrecht University) on the topic of 'Music, Drugs and Emancipation'.
Classical music is full of ‘sacred monsters’: figures like Bach, Mozart and Monteverdi, who are likely to fill you with awe – on top of delight- and to intimidate you as well as enchant you. But there is another side to this image of classical music, one that transforms the ‘sacred monsters’ into ‘secular players’ who were capable of turning their gaze away from the heavens, to stare at reality in the face. There is consequently a progressive, even provocative aspect to Early Music, which fascinates me as a third-millennium listener. A pertinent example is Bach’s Coffee Cantate. This is one of Bach’s so-called worldly cantatas, wherein he experimented with the new style galant and mannerisms of the new opera style. The Coffee Cantata, or Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (Be still, stop chattering), BWV 211, is often described in music history books as light-hearted, but the particular themes that this cantata addresses invite a serious exploration of the role of drugs like coffee and the emancipation of women in early music. This cantate is not unique, but rather belongs to a tradition of experimental and progressive socially-oriented music that should appeal to us all across the ages. Eventalk is thus an experiment on changing the way we look at sacred monsters like Bach, remembering not only his light-hearted Coffee Cantate, but also his role in the sex-wars of his time.
Rosi Braidotti is Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University and founding Director of the Centre for the Humanities in Utrecht since 2007. She was the founding professor of Gender Studies in the Humanities at Utrecht (1988-2005) and the first scientific director of the Netherlands Research School of Women's Studies. Her research and writing engages feminist philosophy and cultural studies. She is especially interested in poststructuralism and critical theory as well as epistemology and Deleuze studies. Her books include, The Posthuman, Polity Press: Cambridge, 2013; Nomadic Theory. The Portable Rosi Braidotti, Columbia University Press: New York, 2011(b); Transpositions: On Nomadic Ethics, Polity Press: Cambridge, 2006; Metamorphoses: Towards a Materialist Theory of Becoming, Polity Press: Cambridge, 2002; and Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory, Columbia University Press: New York, 1994 and 2011(a) [second ed.].
Prof. Braidotti's talk (in English) will be preceded by the musical interlude of the artist in residence Vox Luminis.
Choral Evensong is a strong tradition in English cathedrals: at the end of the afternoon a spoken reflection is wreathed in choral music – the Anglican vespers. During this Early Music Festival we are presenting a secular version of the evensong, which we have called Eventalk.
The spoken element of Eventalk is being entrusted to thinkers and artists. They will make a short, inspiring presentation with a twist, a kind of intellectual haiku. Artist in residence Vox Luminis will provide a musical interlude. In this way Eventalk combines a stimulating discourse with beautiful vocal music (in the Hertz hall): a stolen half-hour, just before evening falls.