Wagner's Lohengrin and Lasso's gift: music research in the School of Arts

Tuesday, 05 December 2017

Wagner Manuscript

Dr Barbara Eichner, Senior Lecturer in Music in the School of Arts has been working on two major areas of music research.

Dr Barbara Eichner is an internationally recognised music historian, whose research focuses on 19th-century music and (national) identity, opera (especially the works of Wagner and Strauss), and sacred music in nunneries and monasteries in the early modern era. She is co-founder and co-director of OBERTO, the opera research unit at Oxford Brookes.

Her article The Swan on the Barricades: The Politics of Lohengrin reconsidered re-evaluates the political stance of pre-revolutionary Wagner and how he expected an ideal society to function. Unlike other such studies, it focuses not only on Wagner’s writings but also considers drafts and sketches as well as the musical fabric of the grand choral scenes.

A second article, The Music Manuscripts of Ambrosius Mayrhofer: Diplomatic Gifts Crossing the Religious Divide, explores cross-religious communication during the Age of Confessionalisation.

Ambrosius Mayrhofer was a Benedictine monk and music lover who created two valuable music manuscripts, had them beautifully illustrated and gave one of them to the Protestant city council of his hometown Regensburg, in an attempt to foster neighbourly goodwill despite religious differences. Dr Eichner’s article contributes to the emerging field of cultural diplomacy.

Dr Eichner is also looking to focus on two large-scale projects in the coming years: the completion of a monograph on music in monasteries and nunneries in the 16th and 17th centuries, specifically the Patrocinium musices, and a scholarly edition of forgotten monastic music, which will hopefully inspire performers to engage with this neglected repertoire.

Dr Barbara Eichner was also involved in curating music exhibits for an exhibition in May 2017 in Regensburg, titled, 'Michael Ostendorfer and the Reformation in Regensburg' which featured the two Mayrhofer music manuscripts. Dr Eichner has also contributed descriptions of the musical items as well as an article about music in Regensburg in the 16th century to the exhibition catalogue. 

Dr Barbara Eichner is one of the recipients of the University’s Research Excellence Awards 2017/18, part of Oxford Brookes’ commitment to supporting research-active academics and in supporting the aims of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy 2016-2020.

The funding is providing Dr Eichner with the time to to complete her articles which have the potential to be classed as internationally excellent or world leading.