Wednesday, 24 February 2016

To turn the hearts of fathers ...

      ODS 00237 - Dionysii Lambini Monstroliensis regii professoris, In Q. Horatium Flaccum ex fide atque auctoritate complurium librorum manuscriptorum / à se emendatum - Francofurti ad Moenum: Ex officina typographica Andreae Wecheli, 1577


Just a quick post for you today, really just to demonstrate the potential there is within the study of bookbindings to give a glimpse into the past.  Although it was printed in Frankfurt, this book was imported into England and was bound in an English Calf armorial binding soon after it's arrival here. In the structure of the binding pieces of recycled manuscript are used to strengthen the joints.  The scraps of manuscript material are very badly creased and cut up and consequently quite tricky to read, but they do include some identifiable bits of plainsong music.  

      There is enough here to indicate that the scraps of music are recycled from a book called an Antiphonal, a book containing Antiphons, responsories sung by a choir in church during the divine office.  They appear to be early fifteenth century.   Among the scraps here is the plainsong setting of the the words ‘ut convertat corda patrum...’ (to turn the hearts of fathers).  This formed part of the Antiphon Ipse Praebit ante illum’, a setting of the words of Luke chapter 1, verse 17, in which Gabriel foretells to Zechariah the birth of his son St John the Baptist.  It was the Antiphon sung at Matins on the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist.[1]    

St John the Baptist from the late 15th century Preces in the Roderic Bowen Collection 


[1] The plainsong melody in this manuscript scrap agrees with the setting of ‘Ipse Praebit’ in the Cantus plainsong Database.


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