Woodfield, Ian 1951-
WOODFIELD, Ian 1951-
Born 1951. Education: Nottingham University (music); King's College, London (music).
Office—School of Music, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, Ireland, BT7 1NN. E-mail—[email protected].
Musicologist. Queen's College, Belfast, Ireland, lecturer (historical musicology), 1978-1989, senior lecturer, 1989-1994, reader, 1994-1999, professor, 1999—.
The Early History of the Viol, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1984.
English Musicians in the Age of Exploration, Pendragon Press (Stuyvesant, NY), 1995.
Salomon and the Burneys: Private Patronage and a Public Career, Ashgate (Burlington, VT), 2003.
Contributor to journals including British Journal of Ethnomusicology, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, and Music and Letters; and to collections including The Age of Romanticism and Revolution: An Oxford Companion to British Culture, 1776-1832 (1999) and Music and British Culture, 1785-1914: Essays in Honour of Cyril Ehrlich (2000).
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Così fan tutte: The Genesis of an Opera Buffa, a study of historical circumstances surrounding the commissioning of Mozart's opera and the artistic and compositional decisions that resulted in the opera as we know it now.
As a historical musicologist, Ian Woodfield writes about music from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries. He has written about the history of particular instruments, such as the viol or the pianoforte, but has also focused on the role of music in culture.
Woodfield's first book, The Early History of the Viol, discusses the development of that instrument primarily in the fifteenth century, throughout northern Europe. Woodfield draws from research on political and trade relationships between nations as an important factor in the migration and evolution of the viol before its popular use in Renaissance England. Much of his evidence comes from medieval iconography depicting the viol and similar instruments. Reviewing the book for the journal Speculum, Barbara Coeyman wrote, "[Woodfield's] methodology is most laudable in his presentation of iconography.… He offers believeable interpretations of these images, realizing both the strengths and limitations of visual sources."
Woodfield's next two books turn toward Anglo-Indian relations and their reflection in music. The first, English Musicians in the Age of Exploration, focuses on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the travels of musicians who sailed with explorers to India and North America. Woodfield documents the use of music to initiate contact with native populations, to act as a gift or bribe, and to evangelize. Woodfield's study in this subject was the first of its kind. In the journal Notes, reviewer Andrew Ashbee wrote that the book "breaks new ground," and "appears to be the tip of a large iceberg" of an area for further exploration. Reviewer J. P. Ambrose, in Choice, said that English Musicians in the Age of Exploration contributes to musicology "by exploring nonmusical documentation to provide new perspectives on the important themes of acculturation and music and society."
Woodfield moves his study ahead by over a century in Music and the Raj: A Social and Economic History of Music in Late Eighteenth-Century Anglo-Indian Society, which focuses on the development of English music in colonial India. Woodfield details the role music played in the daily lives of expatriates, in particular women charged with maintaining a British way of life in a foreign country. Much of the book consists of letters witnessing to the frustrations of transplanting English instruments and music to an inhospitable climate. Reviewer and musicologist Cyril Ehrlich, writing for the Times Literary Supplement, said that "The quality of such letters, their sprightly articulateness, and unflagging zest for music, ensure the reader's enjoyment. But Ian Woodfield's solid achievement is a product of canny scholarship: the ability to select and relate evidence, to discern telling detail, structure and argument, and to write with a style worthy of his protagonists."
Woodfield's more recent work, which includes Opera and Drama in Eighteenth-Century London: The King's Theatre, Garrick, and the Business of Performance and a forthcoming study of Mozart's opera Così fan tutti, addresses chiefly European music.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, June, 1985, K. L. Taylor, review of The Early History of the Viol, p. 1508; October, 1995, J. P. Ambrose, review of English Musicians in the Age of Exploration, p. 304.
Musical Times, autumn, 2001, Stephen Banfield, "This, That, and the Other," pp. 55-58.
Notes, June, 1996, Andrew Ashbee, review of English Musicians in the Age of Exploration, pp. 1164-1165.
Renaissance Quarterly, winter, 1985, James Haar, review of The Early History of the Viol, pp. 746-749.
Speculum, July, 1990, Barbara Coeyman, review of The Early History of the Viol, pp. 785-787.
Times Literary Supplement, January 25, 1985, Iain Fenlon, "A Musical Mongrel," p. 101; April 12, 2002, Cyril Ehrlich, "Patronized but Not Professed," p. 19.