Edition 2023


All those with an interest in Greek tragedy, from Aristotle himself onwards, have, without referencing possible earlier lost works, considered Aeschylus to be the first playwright in history. The use and scope of music in these early works remains an unanswered question. Agustín García Calvo proposes up to three discourse types in some Aeschylus works he has translated, such as in The Persians. Firstly, we would have the singing itself (what we would nowadays consider a melody) and sung almost exclusively by the choir. Secondly, the text would be recited as a kind of musical rendering known as melopea, similar to something we might hear today from an inspired reader of poetry. Finally, the text would be spoken in a prosaic manner like in a standard conversation.

Whatever its degree of presence in ancient dramas, the significance of music in the beginnings of dramaturgy seems evident, an importance that very soon, according to some authors such as Nietzsche, began to diminish to the same extent as theatrical complexity on all levels increased (including the greater relevance of character rhetoric) until its gradual conversion in the ancient Greek comedy where music would only appear as a purely theatrical tool and enticement.

After splendid and brilliant beginnings, it is astonishing that the genre disappeared so soon (in just a few centuries), a genre which, according to certain aesthetic theories, coincides with the birth of art as such. Taking into account all the distinctions and clarifications that can be made, it is only with the birth of tragedy that it can be said, with a certain degree of aplomb, that it awakens the awareness of artistic life in the human race. The concept of the work of art is now clearly established.

After centuries of obscurity, in a small group formed around the court of the Medici in Florence at the end of the 16th century, and more specifically in the circle of Count Giovanni de Bardi, the idea, the need, arose to breathe new life into music, endowing it with greater powers and imposing new functions on it as opposed to its traditionally somewhat self-absorbed and abstract position in the prevalent polyphony. So the new opera, the modern opera, the one we all know to some extent, with its exaggerations and its artifice, its grandeur and its sublime moments, begins, with much noise and heated disputes. Finally, the path that leads from Monteverdi through Wagner’s musical dramas to the extraordinarily diverse contemporary opera is full of all kinds of questions: technical, musical and theatrical, of course, but also philosophical and even ethical.

The XIX Music Philosophy Conference proposes to review these exciting questions about a genre that is not resigned to being a relic of the past.

Gotzon Arrizabalaga

Wednesday, 28th june 2023

12.00 José María Sánchez-Verdú · Postdramatic spheres

13.00 Alberto Bernabé · Poets talk about music: metaphor as an expression of the musical phenomenon

Thursday, 29th june 2023

9.30 Gotzon Arrizabalaga · The Monteverdi Crossroads: The birth of the modern opera

10.30 Ana Fernández Valbuena · The Coronation of Poppea by Monteverdi-Busenello: words as masters of and not slaves to, harmony

12.00 Javier Echeverría. Voices, masks and music of evil: Don Giovanni…

13.00 Francisco Jarauta · Tristan and Iseult: Drama and transfiguration

Friday 30th june 2023

10.00 Raquel García Tomás · Interaction between dramaturgy, musical composition and theatrical creation during the creative process. “Alexina B.”, an example of interdisciplinary creation in the field of opera

10.45 Tomás Marco · The two sides of dramaturgy

12.00 Víctor Gómez Pin · Before Medea and Lady Macbeth: dramatic judgement that integrates and transcends truthful moral judgement