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les Enluminures

Noted Choir Psalter and Hymnal (incomplete)

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Northern Italy (Padua or Venice?), c. 1350-1400

TM 725
mss in the curriculum

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ii (paper pasted to parchment, then original parchment endleaf) + 63 + i (paper laid down on parchment), wanting a large number of leaves throughout, now bound out of order and presumably resewn, so the present collation reflects only the current structure (collation: i2 ii4 iii2 iv2 v6 vi4 [-1, one leaf before f. 17] vii6 [-6, one leaf following f. 24] viii2 ix8 [-8, one leaf before f. 34] x8 xi6 xii8, xiii4 xiv2 xv2), ruled in light red-brown ink for 18 lines of main text or 6 lines of text with music on 4-line red staves (justification, 245 x 180 mm.), written in a fine rounded Italian late gothic bookhand, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials in red or blue with elaborate contrasting penwork, ONE LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIAL in pink heightened with white penwork, enclosing geometric swirls of orange, green and blue acanthus leaves, all on burnished gold grounds with single line tendrils extending into margin and terminating in coloured buds and leaves and gold bezants, some chipping to edges of gold of the initial f. 1v, ink flaking from a few pages and occasional leaves with ink-burn causing small holes within individual letters, small tear f. 45 (no loss of text), first leaf difficult to read as ink has transferred by offset to parchment endleaf, small losses to the corners of this leaf repaired with modern parchment, second text on last leaf abraded and mostly illegible, margins trimmed away, overall in good condition. Bound in early twentieth-century morocco over pasteboard, tooled with looping ropework and floral designs, on five thongs, two clasps (both tag and hook of bottom clasp now loose). Dimensions 285 x 245 mm.

This is a handsome, carefully copied Choir Psalter with musical notation; the manuscript is now missing numerous leaves (presumably including the leaves with illuminated initials, only one of which now remains), and is bound out of order, but still represents the opportunity to acquire a very fine liturgical manuscript from Northern Italy from the fourteenth century. The remaining illuminated initial and the very fine pen initials witness the fact that this was originally a deluxe manuscript.

Provenance

1. Evidence of the script, the style of the decorated pen initials, and the illuminated initial suggest this was copied in Northern Italy in the second half of the fourteenth century, c. 1350-1400, probably closer to the middle of the century than to the end, and probably in Padua or Venice. The pen initials may be compared with Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 7233, Vegetius, Padua or Bologna, from the second quarter of the fourteenth century (Avril and Gousset, 2012, no. 126, plate 171; see also no. 172, pl. 172). As far as it is possible to judge from the text (which is now incomplete and missing many leaves), this is a manuscript made for a secular church, or an order such as the Dominicans or Franciscans that followed secular use, and not for a monastic order.

2. The manuscript was used in eighteenth-century by an Italian scribe for practise, with pen trials of a man’s title beginning Monsignor and words such as ‘Laus’ and ‘Amen’ added to the outer margins of ff. 37 and 62.

3. Late nineteenth- or early twentieth-century sale ticket pasted inside front board, showing that the manuscript was sold in the English trade in that period. A price code “l/l/-” in pencil on verso of first endleaf.

Text

Now missing numerous leaves and bound out of order. The text is described first in its current order, followed by a conjectural attempt to reconstruct the correct order.

ff. 1-2v, incipit, //. Canticum Symeonis prophete, incipit, Nunc dimittis …; Simbolum apostolorum, incipit, “Credo in deum ….”; incipit, “Pater noster …”; ff. 1v-2, In primo sabbato de aduentu domini ad uesperas, ymnus, incipit, “Conditor alme syderum ...”; .. Ad laudes, incipit, “Uox clara ecce intonat … cinxerat non pro//”

ff. 3-4, incipit, “//[depopos]cerat multiformis proditoris arte …”; In laudibus, Lvstris sex qui …”, Dominica prima post pasca ad uesperos hympnus, incipit, “Ad cenam agni …”, Ad nocturnum ymnus, incipit, “Rex eterne domine …. Pauescit omnis//”

ff. 5-6v, //consorsque spirans gaudium …”, Ad nocturnum, incipit, “O lux beata trinitas …”, … In festo sacratissimi corporis christi in uesperis ymnus, incipit, “Pange lingua gloriosi corporis …”, Ad nocturnum, incipit, “Sacris solempniis iuncta …noua sit//”

f. 7rv, “//multipliciter tibi .. [Ps. 62:2], Psalm. 66, and Canticle of the Three children, Dan. 3:57, ending imperfectly;

f. 8rv, Psalm 21, beginning imperfectly at verse 26, Psalm 22 and 23:1-5, ending imperfectly;

ff. 9-10v, Feria tertia ad uesperos, beginning with the antiphon (noted), “In domini dominum”, and Psalms 121-125;

ff. 11-16v, Psalm 24, beginning at verse 17, Psalms 25, 53,117,118:1-15, ending on f. 13v imperfectly; f. 14, begins abruptly with Psalm 26:10, 27, 28, 29, 30, ending abruptly in verse 14;

ff. 17-18v, “//lii alii spiritus sanctus. Sed patris et filii et spiritus sancti …”, beginning imperfectly in the Athanasian Creed; Feria secunda inuitatorium, incipit, “Alleluya .., Ps. Iubilemus [cue only]”, and ending abruptly in the Hymnus, Sompno refectis artubus, “… te mentis ardor//”;

ff. 19-20v, Beginning imperfectly with Psalm 30:14, Psalm 31, and ending abruptly in Psalm 32:11;

ff. 21-24v, Beginning imperfectly with Psalm 33:11, 34, 35, 36, ending abruptly in verse 20;

f. 25rv, Beginning imperfectly in Psalm 32:11 and ending abruptly in Psalm 33:11;

f. 26rv, Beginning imperfectly in Psalm 36:20 and ending abruptly near the end of verse 39;

ff. 27-33v, incipit, “//ibilemus ei, ant. Primus chorus, Venite adoremus … [specifying parts for primus chorus and secundus chorus], followed by Psalm 95, 96, Ad laudes, antiphona, Spiritu principali .., Psalm 142, the Canticle of Habacuc (Habacuc chapter 3); Ymnus, Eterna celi gloria beata spes ..; Sabbato, … Ymnus, incipit, “Summe deus clementie … Ant., Allelua. Euouae. A. Qua mirabilia. Euouae//”;

ff. 34-47v, Beginning imperfectly in the antiphon, followed by Psalm 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, and 108; Ad laudes, antiphona,  followed by Psalm 91, canticle (Deut. 32:1-35, here ending abruptly, “… ut labatur pes”//

ff. 48-55v, Beginning imperfectly with Psalm 134:4, 135, 136; Hympnus ad uesperas, incipit, “Magne deus potencie …”; Feria vi, antiphona ad uesperam, followed by Psalm 137, 138. 139, 140, 141; Ad uesperas ymnus, incipit, “Plasmator hominis deus …”; Sabbato ad uesperas, antiphona, followed by Psalm 143, ending abruptly in verse 10;

ff. 56-57v, Beginning imperfectly in Psalm 144:13, 145, 146, 147:1-6, ending imperfectly;

ff. 58-59v, Beginning imperfectly in the Hymn, Audi benigne conditor: “//mens sobria a labe prorsus criminum …”, Ad nocturnm hympnus, incipit, “Ex more docti mistico …”; In laudibus, incipit, “Iam christus sol …”; In quadragesime in dominicis diebus .. useque ad dominica de passione, incipit, “Ad preces nostras …”; ending abruptly with the rubric, Sabbato de passione dommono. Ymnus//

f. 60rv, Beginning imperfectly in Psalm 131, verse 17, followed by Psalms 132, 133, Ad complet. ymnus, incipit, “Te lucis ante terminum rerum ..”; Psalm 134, ending abruptly in verse 4;

f. 61rv, Beginning imperfectly in Psalm 143, verse 10, and Psalm 144, ending imperfectly in verse 13;

f. 62rv, [Hymn], incipit, “Vexilla regis prodeunt fulgent …”; In inuentione et exaltatione sancte crucis ad uesperas et ad laudes ymnus, incipit, “O crux aue spes unica …”; Dominica de passione ad nocturnum hympnus, incipit, “Pange lingua gloriosa prelium certaminis … ordo depopos//”

f. 63rv, Hymn, “Sacra solemniis iuncta sint gaudia”, beginning imperfectly, incipit, “//Omnia corda uoces …; followed by a hymn for lauds [text abraded and almost totally illegible].

A possible reconstruction of the original order is as follows:
f. 1-2v, incipit, //.  Canticum Symeonis prophete, incipit, Nunc dimitis …; Simbolum apostolorum, incipit, “Credo in deum ….”; incipit, “Pater noster…”; ff. 1v-2, In primo sabbato de aduentum domini ad uesperas, ymnus, incipit, “Conditor alme syderum ...”; .. Ad laudes, incipit, “Uox clara ecce intonat … cinxerat non pro//”

Prefatory texts, the Nunc dimittis, Apostles Creed and Lord's prayer, followed by the hymns for the first Saturday in Advent at Vespers and Lauds.

ff. 58-59v, “//mens sobria a labe prorsus criminum …”, Ad nocturnum hympnus, incipit, “Ex more docti mistico …”; In laudibus, incipit, “Iam christus sol …”; In quadragesime in dominicis diebus .. usque ad dominica de passione, incipit, “Ad preces nostras …”;

Beginning imperfectly in the Hymn, “Audi benigne conditor”, at Vespers, probably sung during Lent for both Sundays and the ferial Office from the first Sunday in Lent until the Friday before Passion Sunday.

f. 62rv, ff. 3-4v, [Hymn], incipit, “Vexilla regis prodeunt fulgent …”; In inuentione et exaltatione sancte cruces ad uesperas et ad laudes ymnus, incipit, “O crux aue spes unica …”; Dominica de passione ad nocturnum hympnus, incipit, “Pange lingua gloriosa prelium certaminis … ordo depopos//” f. 3, incipit, “//[depoposc]erat multiformis perditoris arte …”; In laudibus, Lvstris sex qui …”, Dominica prima post pascha ad uesperos hympnus, incipit, “Ad cenam agni …”, Ad nocturnum ymnus, incipit, “Rex eterne domine …. Pauescit omnis//”

Hymns for the exaltation and invention of the cross, Passion Sunday, and the First Sunday after Easter.

ff. 5-6v, //consorsque spirans gaudium …”, Ad nocturnum, incipit, “O lux beata trinitas …”, … In festo sacratissum corporis christi ad uesperis ymnus, incipit, “Pange lingua gloriosi corporis …”, Ad nocturnum, incipit, “Sacris solempniis iuncta …noua sit//” f. 63rv, “//Omnia corda uoces …; followed by a hymn for lauds [text abraded and almost totally illegible]

Beginning imperfectly in the hymn for Trinity Sunday, “In maiestatis solo”, and continuing with the hymns for Corpus Christi, ending imperfectly.

ff. 17-18v, “//lii alii spiritus sanctus. Sed patris et filii et spiritus sancti …”, beginning imperfectly in the Athanasian Creed; Feria secunda inuitatorium, incipit, “Alleluya .., Ps. Iubilemus [cue only], and ending abruptly in the Hymnus, Sompno refectis artubus … te mentis ardor//”;

Texts for Matins (feria ii).

ff. 14-16v, 19-20v, 25rv, 21-24v, 26rv, begins, abruptly with Psalm 26:10, 27, 28, 29, 30, ending abruptly in verse 14; ff. 19-20v, beginning imperfectly with Psalm 30:14, Psalm 31, and ending abruptly in Psalm 32:11; f. 25rv, beginning imperfectly in Psalm 32:11, and ending abruptly in Psalm 33:11; ff. 21-24v, beginning imperfectly with Psalm 33:11, 34, 35, 36, ending abruptly in verse 20; f. 26rv, beginning imperfectly in Psalm 36:20, and ending abruptly near the end of verse 39;

Psalms for feria ii (Monday) at Matins.

ff. 27-33v, incipit, “//ibilemus ei, ant. Primus chorus, Venite adoremus … [specifying part for primus chorus and secundus chorus], followed by Psalm 95, 96, Ad laudes, antiphona, Spiritu principali .., Psalm 142, the Canticle of Habacuc (Habacuc chapter 3); Ymnus, Eterna celi gloria beata spes ..; Sabbato, … Ymnus, incipit, “Summe deus clementie … Ant., Allelua. Euouae. A. Qua mirabilia. Euouae//”;

Feria vi (Friday), beginning in Matins, concluding abruptly with the antiphon following the Hymn.

ff. 34-47v, Beginning imperfectly in the antiphon, followed by Psalm 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, and 108; Ad laudes, antiphona, followed by Psalm 91, canticle (Deut. 32:1-35, here ending abruptly, “… ut labatur pes”//

Ferial office, Saturday (feria vii), matins, then lauds. 

f. 7rv, incipit, “//multiplicunt tibi …” [Ps. 62:2], Ps. 66, and Canticle of the Three children, Dan. 3:57, ending imperfectly;

Sunday at Lauds.

f. 8rv, Psalm 21, beginning imperfectly at verse 26, Psalm 22 and 23:1-5, ending imperfectly;

Office of Prime, Sunday.

ff. 11-13v, Psalm 24, beginning at verse 17, Psalms 25, 53,117,118:1-15, ending on f. 13v imperfectly;

Office of Prime, Sunday (continuing from f. 8v, but with text missing in between).

ff. 9-10v, Feria tertia ad uesperos, beginning with the antiphon (noted), “In domini dominum”, and Psalms 121-125; 

Vespers, feria iii (Tuesday).

ff. 60rv, 48-55v, 61rv, 56-57v, beginning imperfectly in Psalm 131, verse 17, followed by Psalms 132, 133, Ad complet. ymnus, incipit, “Te lucis ante terminum rerum ..”; Psalm 134, ending abruptly in verse 4; ff. 48-55v, beginning imperfectly with Psalm 134:4, 135, 136; Hympnus ad uesperas, incipit, “Magne deus potencie …”; Feria vi, antiphona ad uesperam, followed by Psalm 137, 138, 139, 140, 141; Ad uesperas ymnus, incipit, “Plasmator hominis deus …”; Sabbato ad uesperas, antiphona, followed by Psalm 143, ending abruptly in verse 10; ff. 61rv, Beginning imperfectly in Psalm 143, verse 10, and Psalm 144, ending imperfectly in verse 13; ff. 56-57v, Beginning imperfectly in Psalm 144:13, 145, 146, 147:1-6, ending imperfectly.

Vespers, feria v (Thursday), feria vi (Friday), and vii (Saturday).

The chanting of the psalms lay at the heart of the Divine Office, the prayers said throughout the day and night by members of the secular clergy and religious orders at the offices of Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. Each week the entire Psalter was recited during these services.  Ferial Psalters (also called Liturgical Psalters or Choir Psalters), include the psalms together with the other texts chanted daily during the office, including antiphons and hymns, thus providing a complete repertoire of the ordinary texts for the Office. (They do not include the “proper” texts for the Office, that is the texts that change according to the varying cycle of the liturgical year, the feasts of the saints and other liturgical occasions, that would be found in antiphonals and breviaries).

In some Ferial Psalters, the psalms were copied in the order in which they were recited in the Office, rather than in their biblical order. It seems likely that this manuscript was originally organized in this fashion (although the order reconstructed above is admittedly conjectural, and should be studied further). The psalms, recited weekly, were commonly memorized by the clerics, friars, monks and nuns; a feat that may seem less daunting when one remembers how many times these people recited the psalms over the course of a year (and the numerous Breviaries that lack the psalms lend support to the fact that the psalms were often memorized). Nonetheless, even if the psalms were memorized, many Breviaries do include Psalters, and large Choir Psalters, such as the one described here, were likely used in the Choir for performance. 

As is common, the text here includes two main sections, the Psalter (with the other ordinary texts for the Office, including some hymns), and a Hymnal that includes hymns for important feasts (now ff. 1-2v, 58-59v, 62rv, 3-6v). Whether the manuscript originally began with the Psalter or the Hymnal is impossible to judge (note that in TM 592, on this site, a later Choir Psalter for Franciscan Use without notation, the psalms are followed by the Hymnal). In this manuscript, the inclusion of musical notation for many of the texts (although not the psalms, which were chanted according to a very simple tone), including the beginning of the Hymns (also a text often found without notation), is of special interest.

Literature

Avril, Franc╠žois and Marie-Thérèse Gousset. Manuscrits enluminées d’origine italienne, vol. 3. XIVe siècle. [pt.] 2. Émilie-Vénétie, Paris: Bibliothèque nationale, 2012.

Hughes, Andrew. Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office. A Guide to their Organization and Terminology, Toronto, 1982.

Leroquais, V. Les psautiers manuscrits latins des bibliothèques publiques de France, Paris-Mâcon, 1940-1941.

Palazzo, E. Histoire des livres liturgiques. Le Moyen Age: des origines au XIIIe siècle, Paris, 1993.

Online resources

Introduction to liturgical manuscripts, “Celebrating the Liturgy’s Books”
www.columbia.edu/itc/music/manuscripts

Jean-Baptiste Lebigue. “Livres de l’office Le Psautier et l’ordinaire de l’office”, in Initiation aux manuscrits liturgiques, Paris-Orléans, IRHT, 2007 (Ædilis, Publications pédagogiques, 6)
http://aedilis.irht.cnrs.fr/initiation-liturgie/psautier.htm

Thesaurus precum latinarum, includes many of the hymns found in this manuscripts with the Latin text with English translation (no notation)
http://www.preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Hymni.html

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