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HUMANISTS IN RENNAISSANCE BOHEMIA AND MUSIC II. JIRI CAROLIDES (1569-1612): The Poet and Composer Who Travelled Little.

Not many Czech poets and musicians of the high Renaissance found employment at the imperial court. Jifi Carolides was one of the lucky few, and what's more, he managed not to lose touch with the civic society from which he rose. His rank as the "poet laureate"; a crowned poet, marked him out for participation in the literary activities of scholars at the imperial court, but he was also well respected in the society of Czech non-Catholic urban intellectuals. After his links with the court were weakened through the influence of several contributing factors, he retained his authority amongst Czech intellectuals as an excellent poet. We know much less of his musical activities, despite the fact that music - and liturgical music in particular - was important to him since his youth and his first known individual work in this area was undertaken during his time at the university.

Between the Imperial Court and the New Town of Prague

Carolides' father, as suggest by his Latin name (Carolides is the son of Carl or Karel) was the architect Karel Melnicky (1536-1599), from whom Jiri seems to have inherited his poetic gifts. Melnicky composed verse in Czech, some of which has survived in his son's works. After preparatory studies at one of Prague's Latin schools, Jiri Carolides studied at the city's university. Before being awarded his master's degree, he completed teacher training at the city school in the south Bohemian town of Pisek, as was traditional at the time. Unlike most of his educated contemporaries, however, Carolides never travelled for education and we don't know much about his journeys around the Czech lands either. Following his graduation, he remained in Prague until his death. He became a scribe for the New City of Prague and later also an imperial scribe. He was married twice. He died at the relatively young age of forty-three.

In addition to Latin and Czech, Carolides also had an excellent command of German (his grandmother was a native of Eisenach), probably knew ancient Greek, and, it seems, also spoke a little Italian. He owned an extensive library, of which his will says it contained "Latin, Greek, and Czech" books. Some survive to this day: in the National Library and the Library of the Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians at Strahov. Characteristic for Carolides are his close relationships with Prague's printers, including Daniel Adam of Veleslavin, Jin Nigrin,Jonata Bohutsky of Hranice, and Jiri Zaveta. He dedicated his poems to them and even wrote a separate verse-form eulogy to the craft of printing. Even though he travelled little, he remained in touch with humanists abroad, mostly through exchanges of letters, books, and poems. Since his youth, he maintained such a relationship with the Altdorf professor Konrad Rittershausen. In his most "famous" period, he collaborated with the court humanists (most notably Hieronymus Arconatus), participated in the laureation ceremonies of new poets organised by the imperial court chaplain and elemosinarius (an almoner; ike official distributor of charity, or alms - editor's note) Jacob Chimarrhaeus, and contributed to various occasional anthologies for the Rudolfinian courtiers. Among the recipients of his poems were the Polish alchemist Michael Sendivoj and the English poetess Westonia. The dedicatees of his poems included important Czech noblemen. Among local intellectuals, Carolides was closest to the Lutheran priest Jin Dikast and the Zatec notary Sofonias Rosacius, whom he met as a student. He also had many literary friends among the intellectuals in the New Town, where he spent his entire life.

Carolides as Poet and Translator

Despite his short life, Carolides was a highly prolific author, publishing several extensive collections of poems and many minor occasional poems. As poeta laureatus, he enjoyed great popularity, and other writers often asked him for introductory poems to use at the beginning of their collections in order to make them more glamorous through the addition of his name. He was gradually replaced in this role by the younger Jan Campanus, whose oeuvre overshadowed the elder poet even though he was never crowned poet laureate.

In addition to occasional texts, Carolides specialised in short poetic forms, most often moralising or satirical epigrams. Following the example of Bohuslav Hasistejnsky, he composed an extensive verse satire of contemporary society. His religious poetry includes poems about the prophets Jonas and Zephaniah. He elaborated on various topical themes, including the construction of the church in Litic or the fire of Jicin. He created a number of so-called "symbola" for his friends and various well-known figures. In his poetry, he paints a picture of himself as a virtuous moralist, but even so, we sometimes get glimpses of other tableaus of his life: mentions of drinking parties, banquets, and the like. A number of his texts intended to be set to music have also survived.

Carolides translated both prose and verse from Latin into Czech. He translated Wilibald Pirckheimer's In Praise of Gout for the consolation of all those suffering of the disease. He published his pedagogical treatise, Praeparatio pueritiae, in both Latin and Czech. It also contains the bilingual Song of King Matyds and A Dispute between the Soul and the Body following the medieval Visio Philiberti.

Carolides and Music

Even though Carolides was a well-known figure in Rudolfinian Bohemia, we find no unambiguous or significant mentions - either in his own literary works or in secondary literature written by his contemporaries - that he was an active musician or even composed music himself. But if we dive deeper into the period sources, we discover that his relationship to music was intense and also included practical music making. It is also clear that for Carolides, this art was linked to a deep piety. We know from his poetry that he had personal contact with literary brotherhoods in a number of Czech cities that were the main centres of urban musical culture. To the Klatovy literary brotherhood, for instance, he dedicated his collection Sententiae LVI salubria et vitae humanae... continentes (1597). That same year, he dedicated the collection Aureae XXII sententiae to the brotherhood in Domazlice. There is also proof of his contact with the literary brotherhood in Prague's Church of Our Lady Before Tyn. Among Carolides' epigrams, epitaphs, poems in insignia, funeralia, and symbola dedicated to his contemporaries, we also find dedications to Czech composers and musicians. These are leading exponents of urban musical life at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Pavel Jistebnicky Spongopeus, Jifi Tachovsky, Jakub Romanides Bydzovsky, and Vaclav and Jiri Rychnovsky.

In addition to these courtesy poetic activities to honour Czech men of letters, there are also pieces of music surviving in Bohemian manuscripts for which Carolides is labeled as the author. The anthology of the Rokycany brotherhood attributes the following motets to Carolides: Lord of All Nations {Pane krdli vsech narodu) and the coupled Rejoice Oh Christians /Therefore Every Man {Veselte se kresiane / Protol kazdy clovece). The unique collection of compositions in the property of the Rakovnik literates includes a coupled funeral motet, Cantiofunebris, whose music and probably also the text was written by Jifi Carolides. An extraordinary piece of evidence for Carolides' active relationship to music is a collection of voice books surviving in the National Library in Prague - according to the ex libris, they hail from Carolides' personal book collection.

This is a binder's volume of two music prints and manuscripts of eighteen Latin and Czech motets. The prints are from the Nuremberg workshop of Katharina Gerlach and represent a form that was highly popular in its time, a successfully distributed anthology of motets for the entire liturgical year, mostly containing works by popular Italian composers of the time (Palcstrina, Claudio Merula, Severin Cornet, Jacobus Corfinus, Andrea Gabrieli, Giovanni Gabrieli, Luca Marenzio, Tiburzio Massaini, and others). The anthology, known as Sacrae cantiones cum qinque, sex et pluribus vocibus dcfestis praecipuis totius anni (1585, 1588) was prepared for publication by the German Evangelical composer and publisher Fridericus Lindner (1542-1597) and was among the most popular and sought-after collections among performers in Central Europe. Carolides was evidently the first owner of these Nuremberg prints, as he inscribed his name on the title page ("Geor: Carolides"). He also bound several loose pages with pre-lined staff notation to the collection, which could later be filled with further polyphonic compositions according to the selection and skill of the user of the volume.

Though most of the pieces written in this manuscript bear no marks suggesting authorship, by comparing them with other period sources, we find that the owner and user - who was certainly Jiri Carolides - selected interesting, often representative pieces, and was certainly able to choose high-quality, exceptional works. He clearly had a preference for the two-choir and eight-voice pieces that were popular towards the close of the 16th century - fashionable, even. In this short selection, we find compositions by Charles Luython, Giovanni Croce, Ruggiero Giovanelli, Orlande de Lassus, Dominic Phinot, and Christopher Clavius. Among the composers of foreign provenance, whose compositions are notated accompanied by a Latin text that is sometimes complemented by a new text in Czech, the manuscript portion of the binder's volume also contains two eight-part motets attributed to Carolides. They are competent pieces and Carolides' name doubtless signifies his attribution as composer, as the first of this pieces sets the 30th and 31st verses of Psalm 109, Confitebor Domino nimis in ore meo, an oft-used text. In the case of the second motet, it is highly likely that Carolides is the author not only of the music, but also of the text. It is an eight-voice wedding motet in two parts, Augustine sacros thalami /Tu quoque Elissa, probably composed in 1598 on the occasion of the marriage of Jan Augustin Malinovsky of Hlavacov and Alzbeta Pisecka (Elysabetha Piscena), who lived in Rakovnik. The manuscript addendum also contains other motets of Czech origin, setting texts that attest to the longevity of the tradition of Jan Hus in Rudolfinian Bohemia. They are the anonymous motets Salve sancte civis; Vnadeji boiimistr Hus Jan {In Hope, Godly Master Hus Jan), and Jubilafelix Boemia, confirming the Utraquist confession of the bounder's volume's owner (the Utraquists were one of the moderate/actions of the Hussites in the 14th century and later became the dominant group of the Hussite religion - editor's note).

In the musicological literature, Jiri Carolides is often cited as the author of the introductory poem in the posthumous collection of the eminent composer of the Renaissance, Jacobus Gallus (1550-1591), Moralia (Nuremberg, Alexander Philipp Dietrich, 1596): Ad cantorem modularum Handelii. Additionally, he is consistently but mistakenly referred to as the author of the text for Jacobus Gallus' Chimarrhaee tibiio, a celebration of the imperial court chaplain Jacob Chimarrhaeus, whom I mentioned at the opening of this text. Carolides' authorship of this laudatory text is not confirmed by the sources. The same is true of any closer personal ties with Jacobus Gallus. Carolides did, however, know Chimarrhaeus personally in relation to his holding the title of poet laureate: Carolides celebrated the chaplain with his poem In insignia R. D. Iacobi Chimarrhaei, printed in the introduction to a collection of Marian Motets by the imperial singer Fransciscus Sales (1543-1539), Salutationes ad beatissimam dei genitricem ac Virginem Mariam in the Prague press of Jin Nigrin in 1598. The nobleman-composer Krystof Harant of Polzice and Bezdruzice (1564-1621) asked Carolides for a similar service in relation to the publication of his Putovdnianeb Cesta z Krdlovstvi ceske'ho do Bendtek a odtuddo zeme Svate (Pilgrimage, or, A journey from the Czech Kingdom to Venice and then on to the Holy Land, Prague: Heirs of Adam of Veleslavin, 1608).

In addition to Carolides' celebratory occasional poems, which served to increase the prestige of the author or addressee of the dedication for a particular print, there are also texts that were clearly intended to be set to music. Probably the oldest evidence of Carolides' activities as poet and composer is a five-part composition that pays tribute to the memory of Master Jakub Codicillus. It was written during Carolides' studies at Prague's university. The fact that Carolides kept his love for music until the end of his life is attested to by De S. Remigio ad Harmoniam musicam, a piece included in his last collection of poems, Sophonias propheta (1612). However, no notation for these pieces survives. Other poems by Carolides prove his active participation in musical life as a choir member. He also penned an epigram titled Musica in which he praises music as an art that is to serve God and a godly mind, not Bacchus and Venus. In another poem, Vita ecu harmonia, he likens the order of human life to a perfect harmony among voices.

The Importance of Jiri Carolides for Czech Culture before the Battle of White Mountain

If we were searching for a figure in the nationally, culturally, and socially diverse society before the Battle of White Mountain whose life and work could represent the Czech contribution to the unique character of the Rudolfinian period, we might well choose the story of the humanist, poet, man of letters, and composer Jiri Carolides of Karslpcrk. Unlike many of his contemporaries, who were of similar origins, education, and social standing, he managed to live his (relatively short) life to the full. His poetic talents and a disposition to use his knowledge of Latin to create humanist poetry made him a well-known figure during his life time, appreciated not only within the circles of city society but also at Prague's imperial court and among the Czech nobility. His contacts abroad then allowed him to step beyond the remits of life lived in Czech cities at the time. And a knowledge of ars musica, including its interpretation and composition, placed him in the company of those creating the musical culture of his time.

by Marta Vaculinova (1) and Petr Danek (2)

1) Centre for Classical Studies at the Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences

2) Institute of Art History, Czech Academy of Sciences
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Title Annotation:history
Author:Vaculinova, Marta; Danek, Petr
Publication:Czech Music
Geographic Code:4EXCZ
Date:Jul 1, 2020
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