1-20 of 43 results  for:

  • Religious or Ritual Musician x
  • Medieval (800-1400) x
Clear all

Article

[Petrus Abailardus]

(b Le Pallet, nr Nantes, 1079; d Saint-Marcel, nr Chalon-sur-Saône, April 21, 1142). French philosopher, poet and musician of Breton origin. After studying philosophy in Paris, he taught dialectic at the cathedral school. His love affair with Heloise, the young niece of Canon Fulbert, brought him fame as a musician. However, after they had secretly married in 1118 Fulbert had Abelard castrated. Heloise became a nun and he became a monk at St Denis. His highly original scholastic method and his restless and blunt nature aroused opposition to his teaching; principal among his opponents was Bernard of Clairvaux. After condemnation by the Council of Sens in 1140, Abelard found support from Peter the Venerable, Benedictine Abbot of Cluny.

Abelard’s songs are few beside his numerous theological and philosophical writings. Heloise’s testimony suggests that his love songs must have been important from both a literary and a musical point of view. In a later letter (probably revised by Abelard) she declared that he had ‘the gift of poetry and the gift of song’; he ‘composed quite a number of metrical and rhythmic love songs. The great charm and sweetness in language and music, and a soft attractiveness of the melody obliged even the unlettered’. These songs, presumably in Latin, have all been lost: they have not been identified among the anonymous repertory....

Article

Geoffrey Chew

[Vojtěch; Wojciech]

(b ?Libice, Bohemia, c956; d nr Danzig [now Gdańsk], April 23, 997). Czech bishop, missionary, martyr, and saint. He belonged to the powerful Slavník family and was baptized Vojtěch, taking the name Adalbert at his confirmation. Educated at Magdeburg, he was consecrated Bishop of Prague in 983. Owing to opposition he twice resigned the see and travelled to Rome, returning each time to Prague. In Italy he became a Benedictine (989) and visited Monte Cassino; he founded the first Benedictine houses in Bohemia (Břevnov, 993) and Poland (Międzyrzecz, c996), and visited Hungary as a missionary. He was canonized in 999 and venerated particularly in Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Prussia; for a list of Offices, hymns, and sequences connected with his cult, see Morawski.

The early biographies (ed. in MGH Scriptores, vol.4, 1841/R, pp.574–620; vol.15/2, 1888/R, pp.705–8, 1177, and by Hoffmann) offer no conclusive evidence that Adalbert was a musician. He has been credited, nevertheless, with the earliest vernacular religious songs of both Bohemia (...

Article

Margot E. Fassler

(d St Victor, Paris, 1146). French writer of sequences. Previously thought to have died late in the 12th century but now known to have been active much earlier in the century, he was a seminal figure in the development of the sequence repertory. The first document with a probable reference to Adam is a charter of 1098 in which a ‘Subdeacon Adam’ appears among the signatories from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. By 1107 he had risen through the ecclesiastical ranks to become Precentor; he signed his name ‘Adam Precentor’ throughout his life, even after he left the cathedral for the Abbey of St Victor in about 1133. He was a member of the reform party in Paris, who, with the support of the Augustinians at St Victor, attempted to impose the Rule of St Augustine upon the canons of Notre Dame; it was doubtless the failure of this attempted reform that prompted Adam's departure for St Victor. Adam worked with many influential figures: he would have been a colleague of Peter Abelard during his early years as cantor; he certainly knew and probably collaborated with the famous theologian Hugh of St Victor; and he may have taught Albertus Parisiensis, the man who succeeded him as cantor at the cathedral, and who is credited with a role in the development of the polyphonic innovations now attributed to Leoninus and his generation....

Article

Andrew Hughes

revised by Randall Rosenfeld

[Ailred, Ethelred]

(b ? Hexham, c1110; d York, 1167). English saint, theologian and historian. He was brought up in the household of David I of Scotland, and later became an officer (dapifer) there. He was professed a monk of the Cistercian house at Rievaulx in Yorkshire (1134); he became abbot of Revesby (1143), but later returned to Rievaulx as abbot (c1147). Early in his career he gained the respect and support of Bernard of Clairvaux. Music forms only a small part of his writings: the De abusu musice attributed to him by Vander Straeten (Grove3; GerbertS, i, 26) cannot be identified as his, but chapter xxiii of the second book of the Speculum caritatis, a work inspired by St Bernard, deals with the same topic. He questioned the use of organs and bells in church, unfavourably comparing the noise of the former to the human voice. His chief complaint, however, was against the use of a virtuoso, and indeed histrionic, performance style: ‘Why that contraction and effeminacy of the voice? … Now the voice is reduced, then it is broken, at one time it is forced, at another it is enlarged with a more expansive sound. … At times the entire body is agitated with gestures worthy of actors; the lips twist, the eyes roll, the shoulders play, the fingers move in response to every note’. He was a proponent of stylistic moderation in the performance of chant. Some of his words have been understood as descriptions of part-singing and hocket: ‘One voice joins us, another drops out, another voice enters higher, and yet another divides and cuts short certain intervening notes …. At times you might see a man with an open mouth, as if expiring with suffocated breath, not singing, and with a certain laughable hindering of the voice as if menacing silence’. Some of Aelred's statements resemble those of his contemporary John of Salisbury, and may provide some evidence of the cultivation and performance of complex polyphony in 12th-century England or on the Continent; yet his complaint may have been exaggerated....

Article

Afat  

Tom R. Ward

revised by David Fallows

(fl ?c1430). Composer, possibly Italian. He may have been active in Brescia, if that is indeed the origin of the manuscript I-Bu 2216, which contains his only known work. This is a Sanctus (ed. in MLMI, 3rd ser., Mensurabilia, iii, vol.ii, 1970, pp.86–8), written in major prolation, with two equal high voices in florid style over a tenor....

Article

James W. McKinnon

(b Spain, 769; d Lyons, 840). Frankish ecclesiastic. He came as a youth to Gaul, taking up residence in the monastery of St Polycarp near Narbonne. He was ordained in 804 and named bishop of Lyons in 816, where he remained for the rest of his life, except for a period of exile in Italy during the years 835–8 because he had sided with the sons of the emperor Louis the Pious against their father; his temporary replacement as administrator of Lyons was his rival Amalarius.

Agobard was a vigorous controversialist of conservative bent. He was outspoken in his opposition to Frankish folk religious practices, to trial by ordeal, to royal interference in church affairs and to Jewish influence at court. In the liturgical realm he was against the employment of images in worship, the use of non-biblical texts and the allegorical interpretation of the liturgy, the two latter positions being directly contrary to those of Amalarius. After his reinstatement as archbishop of Lyons in 838, he and his deacon Florus sought to undo the liturgical innovations of Amalarius, particularly by revising his Office antiphoner. The principal change was the replacement of non-biblical texts. The opposition of Agobard to non-biblical texts may account for the longstanding absence of hymns and tropes in the liturgy of Lyons....

Article

Owen Wright

(fl first half of the 11th century). Arab musician and writer. The son of an eminent musician, he became a prominent singer at the Cairo court of the Fatimid caliph al-Ẓāhir (1021–36), and was still active as a teacher in 1057. His music treatise, completed after 1036 and entitled Ḥāwī al-funūn wa-salwat al-maḥzūn (‘Compendium of the arts to comfort sad hearts’), is of particular interest in that it deals with various topics of little concern to other authorities. Written from the perspective of a cultured musician rather than that of a philosopher-theorist, it calls upon a literary tradition of writing about music, and its historical content is frankly derivative, even if of interest for the implication of continuity with the court music of 9th-century Baghdad. But it is wide-ranging in its treatment of contemporary practice, dealing not only with such basics as mode and rhythm, but also with such matters as the normal sequence of events in performance, deportment and etiquette, the materials and construction of the ‘...

Article

Edward Booth

revised by Sean Gallagher

(b Roccasecca, 1226; d Fossanova, March 7, 1274). Italian Dominican priest and theologian. He was described as ‘Doctor Angelicus’. He led a life of intense study, lecturing and writing at Cologne, Paris and Naples. His works form the most profound, comprehensive and ordered scholastic synthesis of the scriptures, patristic teaching and philosophy; his philosophical work consists primarily of a judicious interpretation of Aristotle and his Greek and Arab commentators, integrated with an often neglected element of Platonist thought (mostly derived through St Augustine and neo-Platonist intermediaries). He was canonized in 1323.

Although Aquinas wrote no treatise specifically on music (the Ars musica is spurious), there are passages scattered throughout his works that suggest a musical aesthetic consistent with his whole system and predicated on his broader definitions of both the essence and the effects of beauty. This musical aesthetic, though, is austere in its Aristotelian terms of expression, but reveals nevertheless an awareness of the affective power of music. In devotional contexts this could manifest itself both positively and negatively. Thus he could approve of singing, so long as it was not done merely to provoke pleasure, since ‘vocal praise arouses the interior affection of the one praising and prompts others to praise God’ (...

Article

Barlaam  

Andrew Hughes

[Bernard]

(d 1350). Monk and Bishop of Gerace. Barlaam was his religious name. He was educated in Byzantine monasteries of southern Italy, and visited Constantinople in the 1330s. In 1339 the eastern emperor made him envoy to Pope Benedict XII at Avignon. He taught Greek to Petrarch, and under Petrarch’s influence became a convert to Latin Catholicism in ...

Article

Andrew Hughes

(d 1286). ?French poet and priest. He was a canon and priest of the collegiate church of St Pierre in Lille, near Arras. About 1280, he wrote a metrical and rhymed paraphrase of the famous poem, Anticlaudianus, by the 12th-century theologian, philosopher and poet Alain de Lille. Its plot concerns Nature’s formation of a perfect man to be imbued with the Arts and Virtues, and an ascent to heaven, on which journey the music of the spheres is heard, to request a soul from God. Adam named his new work Ludus super Anticlaudianum. It survives today in one manuscript ( F-Lm 316), thought to be partly autograph. Adam’s work retains the plot, the moral and the didactic character of the original, but the forbidding allegory and encyclopedic tone is modified in favour of a simpler style and language so that the work, although in Latin, is almost like a ...

Article

Gordon A. Anderson

revised by Anna Maria Busse Berger

(b Noordwijk, early 14th century; d Rijnsburg, 1367). Dutch priest and music theorist. He attended university at Oxford and Paris, and after completion of studies in law became a priest. From 1358 to his death he was parish priest in Rijnsburg. He wrote two treatises. Ars [musicae], dating from the mid-14th century, concerns Ars Nova mensural music and the formation of intervals, with references to, and sometimes contradictions of, the teachings of Johannes des Muris; references to several well-known Ars Nova motets are included. The other treatise, Musica (c1355), outlines a doctrine of consonances after discussing pitch names and genera of proportions, names of intervals, divisions of the whole tone and alteration of pitches by use of accidentals. Boen was the only theorist of his generation to allow any note to be preceded by an accidental, including sharps on B and E and flats on C and F, but he did not admit double flats or double sharps. He clearly thought in terms of staff notation, rather than the Guidonian hand. The last part of the treatise contains a discussion ...

Article

Andrew Hughes

revised by Andrea Budgey

[Gerald de Barri, Gerald of Wales]

(b Manorbier, c1146; d ?Lincoln, c1223). Welsh-Norman ecclesiastic and author. Educated in arts and canon law at Paris, he was archdeacon of Brecon from about 1175 to 1203; from 1184 to 1194 he was also in royal service. After visits to Ireland in 1183 and 1185–6 he wrote a Topographia Hibernica (c1187) and Expugnatio Hibernica (c1188). Likewise, after his travels around Wales in 1188 he wrote Itinerarium Kambriae (1191) and Descriptio Kambriae (1194). His later works include the largely autobiographical De rebus a se gestis (c1204). His writing is characterized by fascination with detail, vigorous expression of personal opinion and a fondness for controversy and debate.

Both the Topographia and the Descriptio contain passages referring to music which have been variously translated and interpreted by scholars musicologically untrained or nationalistically motivated, but which have latterly been subjected to more critical examination. The extent of Giraldus's musical training is unknown, so the accuracy of his use of musical terms is not certain, but the passages are nonetheless a unique source of information about the music that they describe. He stated (...

Article

James Grier

(b c965; d Limoges, April 26, 1025). French monk and cantor. He served at the abbey of Saint Martial in Limoges. Roger, who was the paternal uncle of Adémar de Chabannes, is known to have become cantor at the abbey after 1010 (see J. Grier, ‘Roger de Chabannes (d....

Article

Sarah Fuller

[Guido Cariloci, Guy de Cherlieu]

(fl 1132–57). Cistercian monk and abbot of the monastery at Cherlieu from 1132–57. In some manuscripts known in the 18th and 19th centuries, the preface to the Cistercian Gradual, Cantum quem Cisterciensis ordinis, bore an attribution to Guido of Cherlieu. Since these manuscripts have now disappeared, it is impossible to evaluate their testimony. There is a distinct possibility that Guido of Cherlieu is an alternative name for ...

Article

Mary Berry

(b Fontaines-lès-Dijon, 1090; d Clairvaux, 1153). French theologian, reformer and mystic. He was educated at Châtillon by the canons of St Vorles. In 1112 or 1113 he entered Cîteaux, and in 1115, in obedience to his abbot, St Stephen Harding, he left it to found Clairvaux, which was to become one of the most famous houses of the Cistercian order. Bernard was its first abbot, ruling over it until his death. Many of his written works were designed for delivery in the chapter house before his own monks. His influence, however, extended far beyond the confines of Clairvaux. He travelled throughout Europe, from Speyer to Palermo and from Madrid to Bordeaux, crossing and recrossing the Alps and the Pyrenees. He made active contributions to synods and councils, notably at Troyes (1128), Pisa (1135), Sens (1140) and Reims (1148). At Troyes he was responsible for establishing the Order of the Knights Templar and he may have been the author of their Rule. He supported Pope Innocent II against the antipope Anacletus II at the disputed election after the death of Honorius II in ...

Article

Margaret Bent

revised by Roger Bowers

(b c1385, d 1442). English church musician and composer. Nine compositions in the Old Hall Manuscript are attributed to ‘Cooke’ and one piece preserved anonymously there may also be assigned to him; a further, unclear attribution may read ‘J. Cooke’. The name Cooke was common, and it is possible that this music includes works by more than one composer so named. Most if not all, however, is probably attributable to the John Cooke who, as almost certainly a former chorister of the Chapel Royal, was sent from a very junior clerkship there to study at King’s Hall, Cambridge, in 1402/3. He vacated this fellowship in January 1414, but had already been re-admitted to membership of the Chapel Royal as a chaplain (a Gentleman in priest’s orders) by the summer of 1413. He was among the personnel who accompanied the entourage of Henry V on the Agincourt expedition of ...

Article

Andrew Hughes

revised by Randall Rosenfeld

(d Sens, 1222). French theologian and prelate . He was a master of theology at the University of Paris; his best-known pupil later became Pope Innocent III. Pierre received ecclesiastical preferment, becoming a canon of Notre Dame in Paris, Archdeacon of York (1198), Bishop of Cambrai (1199) and Archbishop of Sens (1200). He led the council at Paris in 1210 which forbade the public teaching and private reading of Aristotle's works on natural history. As archbishop Pierre was a respected familiar of King Philip Augustus. Of his works, including sermons and commentaries, very few have survived. An Office of the Assumption, used at Sens until the 17th century, and the Office for Circumcision are attributed to him.

It is on the latter that his musical reputation is founded. In 1198 Cardinal Peter of Capua, papal legate for France, addressed a letter to the Bishop and cathedral chapter of Paris concerning the Feast of Fools which traditionally took place on the Feast of Circumcision and which had become the focus for much abuse. This document, an attempt to regulate the celebration of the feast, sets guidelines including prescriptions for processions and the performance of liturgical items ‘in organo, vel triplo, vel quadruplo’. Reference to ‘quadruplo’ at once suggests the four-voice compositions of Parisian composers associated with Notre Dame. Other works of the Notre Dame repertory are, furthermore, associated with Sens; it seems possible that Pierre, who is named among the other members of the chapter, responded to the cardinal's letter by writing an Office for the Feast of Circumcision, and by taking the decrees on musical practice with him to Sens....

Article

Ian R. Parker

[Givenci, Gevanche, Gievenci]

(fl 1230–68). Trouvère. His name implies that he was born in the village of Givenchy (Pas de Calais). His activity centred around Arras where he seems to have come in contact with Simon d’Authie, Pierre de Corbie, Guillaume Le Vinier and Jehan Bretel. His name appears first in two charters, dated May and July 1230, in which he is given the title of clerk to the Bishop of Arras. In 1232 an act of procedure named him among the official household and as agent for the same bishop. In 1243 he is listed as priest and chaplain to the bishop and in 1245 as ‘doyen de Lens’. Eight surviving poems are commonly attributed to Adam including two jeux-partis in which he is partnered by Jehan Bretel and Guillaume Le Vinier. The latter, Amis Guillaume, ainc si sage ne vi, has survived with several melodies. Of the four other songs that have surviving melodies, two are ...

Article

Ursula Günther

revised by Yolanda Plumley

[Egidius]

(d 1348). Priest and composer. This name appears together with ‘Magister Heinricus’ in Coussemaker’s copy of F-Sm 222 (facs. in TM, ii, 1977) above a 14th-century motet dedicated to St Ida of Boulogne (1040–1113), the mother of three crusaders and an ancestor of Gui de Boulogne (d 1373) and Pope Clement VII (1378–94). This motet, Portio nature/Ida capillorum/Ante thronum Trinitatis (ed. in CMM, xxxix, 14; PMFC, v, 5), may have been composed for the nomination of Gui de Boulogne as cardinal at Avignon in 1342. In any case, the work dates from before 1376 since it is entered in the first section of the index of F-Pn 23190 (olim SERc ). It is also transmitted (anonymously) in F-CH 564, I-IV 115 and NL-Lu 342A (inc.). The author of the text, ‘Heinricus’ (Henricus), is named in the text of the motetus, and may be identifiable with one of several composers of this name whose works are included in ...

Article

Hana Vlhová-Wörner

[Domazlaus Predicator]

(b Bohemia, c. 1300; d c. 1350). Dominican friar and a leading author of liturgical poetry during the period of rising patriotic feelings in Bohemia. Several sequences to Bohemian patron saints appearing after 1300 are attributed to his authorship, among them De superna hierarchia to Corpus Christi (with acrostic ...