Saturday, May 31, 2014

From Solesmes: a beautiful facsimile of a Montecassino manuscript and a flying drone

Solesmes has published the latest volume in the Paléographie Musicale series. This beautiful volume is the 23rd in the series which began in 1889 and is the first to be published in colour. It is a facsimile of Montecassino MS 542, a 12th century antiphonary and a beautiful example of the distinctive Beneventan Chant which originated in the south of Italy. The book has an introduction and explanation (in French) of the notation by the scholar and musician Katarina Livljanić as well as a comprehensive index.

The photograph below shows the original manuscript and the first antiphon from Lauds on the Feast of the Holy Innocents: Herodes iratus occidit multos pueros in Bethlehem Judae civitate David. The damage sustained in a fire can be seen at the top.

The new edition can be purchased directly from Solesmes.

The video of Solesmes below was recently filmed by a drone and shows parts of the monastery usually hidden out of sight. The opening shot starts in the French Garden, the Abbey Church visible to the right, and moves towards the Maurist Priory building which contains both the Atelier of the Paléographie Musicale as well as Dom Gueranger's cell, exactly as he left it. The charming garden of the smaller Maurist Cloister can be seen, as well as the Great Cloister, in the corner of which is the small building (with turret roof) where the Abbot washes the hands of guests before they enter the refectory. The Abbot's octagonal cell juts out at first floor level over a small internal courtyard (1:30) next to the library at the heart of the complex. The classic view of Solesmes which ends the short video is taken from a little further upstream on the River Sarthe.

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