Dolores Pesce

Professor of Musicology
Executive Director of Friends of Music​
Avis Blewett Professor of Music in Arts & Sciences
PhD, University of Maryland
Master of Music, Johns Hopkins University
BA, Goucher College
research interests:
  • Medieval Motets
  • Medieval and Renaissance Music Theory
  • Franz Liszt
  • Edward MacDowell
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contact info:

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1032
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899
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​Professor Pesce's research interests concentrate on the middle ages and the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries. She has published studies on the history of medieval music theory, particularly the theorist Guido d'Arezzo, and on thirteenth-century motets.

Dolores Pesce earned a BA from Goucher College (1974), the Master of Music from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (1976), and the PhD from the University of Maryland (1982). In addition, she studied at the Musikhochschule in Vienna, Austria. Professor Pesce is the recipient of the Fulbright, IREX, and NEH fellowships. Her research interests concentrate on the middle ages and the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries. She has published studies on the history of medieval music theory, particularly the theorist Guido d'Arezzo, and on thirteenth-century motets. Her work in the later periods focuses on the life and music of Franz Liszt and the programmatic music of Edward MacDowell.

Publications

Books

Liszt’s Final Decade. University of Rochester Press, 2014.

Guido d’Arezzo’s Regule rithmice, Prologus in antiphonarium, and Epistola ad michahelem: a critical text and translation, with an introduction, annotations, indices, and new manuscript inventories.  Musicological Studies Vol. LXXIII.  Ottawa, Canada: The Institute of Mediaeval Music, 1999.

Hearing the Motet: Essays on the Motet of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ed. Dolores Pesce. Oxford  University  Press, 1997.

The Affinities and Medieval Transposition, in series Music: Scholarship and Performance. Indiana University Press, 1987.

Chapters in Edited Collections

“Beyond Hanslick: Liszt’s Symphonic Poems and Program Symphonies in Vienna, 1886-1904.” In Nineteenth-Century Programme Music:  Creation, Negotiations, Reception, ed. Jonathan Kregor, 429-62. Brepols, 2019 (Speculum Musicae 33). 
 

"Montpellier 8 PORTARE Motets and Tonal Exploration." In The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle. Contents, Contexts, Chronologies, ed. Catherine A. Bradley and Karen Desmond, 233-53. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music 16.  Boydell and Brewer, 2018.

"Thirteenth-Century Motet Functions: Views through the Lens of the Portare Motet Family." In A Critical Companion to Medieval Motets, ed. Jared Hartt, 131-54. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music 17. Boydell and Brewer, 2018.

“Theory and Notation” in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Music, ed. Mark Everist, 276-290. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

 “Guido d’Arezzo, Ut queant laxis, and Musical Understanding” in Reading and Writing the Pedagogy of the Renaissance: Students, Teachers, and Materials of Musical Learning, 1520-1650, ed. Russell E. Murray, Jr., Susan Forscher Weiss, and Cynthia J. Cyrus, 25-36. Indiana University Press, 2010.

"An Historical Context for Guido d'Arezzo's Use of Distinctio" in Music in Medieval Europe, ed. Terence Bailey and Alma Santosuosso, 146-62. Ashgate, 2007.

“Liszt’s Sacred Choral Music” in The Cambridge Companion to Liszt, ed. Kenneth Hamilton, 223-48, 266-70 Cambridge University  Press, 2005.

"Introduction" and "Beyond Glossing: The Old Made New in Mout me fu grief/Robin m'aime/Portare." in Hearing the Motet: Essays on the Motet of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ed. Dolores Pesce, 3-11, 28-51. (Oxford University Press, 1997).

“Beyond Glossing” republished in Ars antique. Organum, Conductus, Motet, ed. Edward Roesner. In series Music in Medieval Europe, ed. Thomas Forrest Kelly.  Ashgate, 2009.

"Expressive Resonance in Liszt's Piano Music."  Nineteenth-Century Piano Music, ed. Larry Todd, 355-411. Schirmer/ Macmillan, 1990. Revised second edition, Routledge 2004.

Articles

“Guido d’Arezzo, affinitas, Fulgentius, Fabius Planciades.  The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Macmillan, revised ed. 2012.

"Edward MacDowell." The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.  Macmillan, 2001; revised ed. 2011.

“The Many Faces of Carmen. Introduction.” Belles Lettres 2005-06.

“Affinitas,” "Berno of Reichenau," "Fulgentius, Fabius Planciades," "Hermannus Contractus," "Wilhelm of Hirsau." The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Macmillan, revised ed. 2001.

"The `Other' Sea in MacDowell's Sea Pieces."  American Music 10/4 (Winter 1992), 411-40.

"A Case for Coherent Pitch Organization in the Thirteenth-Century Double Motet." Music Analysis 9/3 (October 1990), 287-318.

"Liszt's Annees de Pelerinage, Book 3:  A 'Hungarian' Cycle?" 19th-Century Music XIII/3 (Spring  1990), 207-29.

Also published in Hungarian: "'Magyar' ciklus-e a Zara'ndokévek harmadik kötete?"  Magyar Zene 31/4 (December 1990), 347-372.

"The Tangled Transmission of Guido d'Arezzo's EpistolaMusica Antiqua VIII (Bydgoszcz 1988), 53-72.

"MacDowell's Eroica Sonata and its Lisztian Legacy."  The Music Review 49/3 (August 1988), 169-89.

"A Revised View of the Thirteenth-Century Latin Double Motet," The Journal of the American Musicological Society XL/3 (Fall 1987), 405-42. 

"New Light on the Programmatic Aesthetic of MacDowell's Symphonic Poems," American Music  IV/4 (1986), 369-89. 

"The Significance of Text in Thirteenth-Century Latin Motets," Acta Musicologica LVIII/1 (1986),  91-117.

"B-flat:  Transposition or Transformation?" The Journal of Musicology IV/3 (Summer 1985-86),    330-49.

Reviews

Franz Liszt, Sämtliche Schriften, ed. Detlef Antenburg (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, c1989- ), vol. 1, herausgegeben von Rainer Kleinertz, kommentiert unter Mitarbeit von Serge Gut, 2000.  684 pp. Journal of the American Liszt Society 2005.

Brothers, Thomas. Chromatic Beauty in the Late Medieval Chanson. Journal of the Royal Musical Association 123 (2) (1999): 283-88.

Saffle, Michael. Franz Liszt: A Guide to Research. Music Library Association Notes 49 (1) (1992): 111-12.

Berger, Karol. Musica Ficta. Speculum 65 (1) (1990): 121-3.

Merrick, Paul. Revolution and Religion in the Music of Liszt. Music Review 48 (1) (1988): 75-7.

“Beyond Hanslick: Liszt’s Symphonic Poems and Program Symphonies in Vienna, 1886-1904.”

“Beyond Hanslick: Liszt’s Symphonic Poems and Program Symphonies in Vienna, 1886-1904.”

“Beyond Hanslick: Liszt’s Symphonic Poems and Program Symphonies in Vienna, 1886-1904.” In Nineteenth-Century Programme Music:  Creation, Negotiations, Reception, ed. Jonathan Kregor, 429-62Brepols, 2019 (Speculum Musicae 33). 

"Thirteenth-Century Motet Functions: Views through the Lens of the Portare Motet Family."

"Thirteenth-Century Motet Functions: Views through the Lens of the Portare Motet Family."

"Thirteenth-Century Motet Functions: Views through the Lens of the Portare Motet Family." In A Critical Companion to Medieval Motets, ed. Jared Hartt, 131-54. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music 17. Boydell and Brewer, 2018.

"Montpellier 8 PORTARE Motets and Tonal Exploration"

"Montpellier 8 PORTARE Motets and Tonal Exploration"

"Montpellier 8 PORTARE Motets and Tonal Exploration." In The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle. Contents, Contexts, Chronologies, ed. Catherine A. Bradley and Karen Desmond, 233-53. Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music 16.  Boydell and Brewer, 2018.

Liszt’s Final Decade

Liszt’s Final Decade

Liszt's Final Decade reveals in the composer's own words to his confidantes Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein and Olga von Meyendorff how he resolved his conflicted self-image as a celebrated performer but underappreciated composer. Toward the end of his life Franz Liszt maintained extensive correspondence with two women who were at the time his closest confidantes, Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein and Olga von Meyendorff. Liszt wrote to them regularly, expressing his intimate feelings about personal and career events and his conflicted self-image as a celebrated performer but underappreciated composer. Absent a diary, the letters offer the most direct avenue into Liszt's psyche in his final years. Liszt's Final Decade explores through these letters the mind and music of one of the nineteenth century's most popular musicians, providing insight into Liszt's melancholia in his last years and his struggle to gain recognition for his music yet avoid criticism. The exchange indicates that Liszt ultimately resolved his inner conflict through a personally constructed Christian moral philosophy that embraced positive resignation to suffering, compassionate love, and trust in a just reward to come. The book also examines how Liszt's late sacred compositions affirm the yielding of suffering to joy and hope. Significantly, Liszt viewed these works, commonly overlooked today, as a major part of his compositional legacy. This volume thus challenges the idea of a single "late" Lisztian style and the notion that despair overwhelmed the composer in his final years.