Printer Friendly

Moosburger Graduale: Munchen, Universitatsbibliothek, 2o Cod. ms. 156.

Were it not for the special value of this manuscript, I should feel tempted to exclaim "Not another Gradual!" The business of producing facsimiles of medieval liturgical books, perhaps following the lead of church scholars for whom the liturgy has come to mean the Mass, has seriously ignored books for the Offices. This criticism is directed at a publishing industry deterred by the financial commitment necessary for a complex Office book, and at a discipline that, to choose a polemic analogy, prefers another recording of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony over the works of Bruno of Toul, which remained in use for some ten centuries. David Hiley is an expert in the Office liturgy: his decision to edit this Gradual, therefore, is an indication of the value we should place on this particular book. He has done an excellent job.

The Moosburger Gradual (Munich, Universitatsbibliothek, 2[degrees] Cod. ms. 156) contains not only the usual proper and ordinary chants for the Mass, but also a substantial repertory of cantiones, introit tropes, and substitutes for the Benedicamus Domino, as well as a few pieces of polyphonic music. These special genres have been generally well reported in the literature Hiley cites. This Bavarian Gradual can be firmly dated to the second half of the fourteenth century, showing that, in southern Germany at least, tropes continued to be a living genre. Indeed, the ancient Gregorius presul trope now serves as an introduction to the whole book, accompanied by a psalm termination as though transformed into an antiphon. Other conservative features, long outdated elsewhere, are the mingling of feasts of the Temporale and Sanctorale that characterizes the first part of the codex, and the continuation of genres such as the conductus and versus, more typical of the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, under the name cantio. One of the clerics responsible for compiling the book rails in a long rubric against lascivious behavior, associating the lewd songs and dances that the clergy were accustomed to perform with the old feast of the Boy Bishop, for which liturgical books of Beauvais and Sens provide conductus and versus; yet this cleric himself composes new cantiones for "when the bishop is elected" and "when they go outside the church to dance."

There are thus numerous features associating this manuscript with the France of considerably earlier. The traditions seem obviously linked yet, as Hiley implies, our knowledge of the process of transmission is "flimsy." On this point, we might perhaps recall the strong French connections discovered by Jeremy Yudkin between Paris and the Bavarian treatise of St. Emmeram, completed in 1279 (De Musica mensurata, ed. Jeremy Yudkin [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990], 34-43).

The association with Moosburg is clear: two acrostics (fols. 183, 231) emphasize Castulus, the patron of the church, and Mospurga is similarly prominent (fol. 231v). The four clerics named in the book are associated with Moosburg or neighboring towns. Biographical information and rubrics in the book give us various dates. The opening initial (fol. 2) includes the text Hij tres scripserunt / librum nobisque dederunt ("These three [clerics] have written the book and given it to us") and the names of Johannes de Perchausen (d. 1362), Otto de Wartenbach (d. 1356), and Johannes de Geyrstal (d. 1354). On fol. 260v (the end of the original codex, to which several pages of additional material in a different hand were appended) is the explicit scriptus . . . per manure Ernesti . . . de Lantshuta ("written by the hand of Ernest de Lantshut") with the date 1360. Of these clerics, Johannes de Perchausen (a place yet unidentified), Dean of Moosburg, is the most important. He was responsible for the composition of cantiones and for the interesting introduction to the Cantionale, which Hiley prints in full.

The information in the opening initial, the explicit, and the introduction provides opportunity for fascinating interpretation: if Ernest were the scribe, what was the role of the three clerics who scripserunt? Did they prepare the model from which the final book was copied; was the book copied in different stages; or was Ernest responsible for the text and the others for the music or initials? Perchausen's introduction to the Cantionale may bear on this issue He says he was the first in the church of Moosburg to transfer "the usual chant into music [in musicam]." But this statement, too, offers problems. Does it mean the first time the chant was written down; or written down in staff notation? In either case, can we believe that Moosburg lacked pitch-precise musical notation until the middle of the fourteenth century?

Hiley examines the possibilities. For other interesting matters more appropriate for a detailed study, the space in the introduction is obviously inadequate. Why are there so many alternative texts in some cases? For Christmas there are thirteen cantiones and four Benedicamus Domino substitutes. There are also many opportunities for paleographical and other codicological exploration: in several places, some of which seem curious (e.g, fol. 93), the chant is lacking, although the textual scribe distributed the syllables appropriately. There are textual miscalculations (fol. 26v); inexplicably elaborate initials (fols. 29v, 108v); textual errors for which the music has not been corrected (fol. 236v at nasci); expunctuated erroneous repetitions for which the pitches have also been expunctuated with dots above the word (fol. 58); and inconsistencies of page design that suggest inexperienced scribes.

Additional acrostics include a double acrostic involving the initial and second letter of each versicle (these letters are duplicated in the margin) and an abecedarium (fol. 219v). On fol. 236v is a six-versicle text beginning with the word dies in each of its singular grammatical forms, which are identified in the margin. Such features, and the presence of occasional rhymed verses for Alleluias, suggest a community not unfamiliar with the devices of contemporary liturgical composition.

The linear dimensions of the facsimile are about half the size of the actual codex; the several color facsimiles complement the prevailing black-and-white reproductions. The quality and the general production of the book are superb, and Hiley provides the expected codicological, historical, liturgical, and biographical introduction, as well as a bibliography.

My single reservation concerns the indexes. Convention dictates that each genre has its own index of incipits. This practice makes much liturgical research almost impossible for anyone not already an expert, as well as for the liturgist not familiar with medieval repertories. To look for a certain text, not knowing whether it is a gradual or a trope or an invitatory, it will be necessary not only to scan scores of separate facsimiles or editions, but many hundreds of separate indexes as well. Should we thus discourage scholars from entering liturgical research? Computers have made it so easy to rearrange lists that there is little excuse for failing to provide a single index (in addition to the separate indexes). But Hiley has certainly been thorough, providing us with indexes of feasts in the order they appear and in alphabetical order, thirteen indexes by genre, and six others identifying items of the Ordinary.

Finally, Moosburger. Lest I be laughed out of my Canadian university or attacked by animal rights activists, I should perhaps sign myself Pinxitque colores apud Torontonensis.

ANDREW HUGHES Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
COPYRIGHT 1997 Music Library Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Hughes, Andrew
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 1, 1997
Previous Article:Vesperi a otto voci con basso continuo, 1675.
Next Article:Ringed by the Flat Horizon for Full Orchestra (1979-1980).

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters