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A strange antiphonary
10.03.2010

An Antifonale Speciale


I hereby publish a preliminary description of an antiphonary belonging to a private owner. Originally, the antiphonary consisted of five or perhaps six times as many folios as the 49 that remain today. Gatherings have been moved around and folios have been removed from the book both before and after the foliotation.
The book measures 71 x 57 cm and must therefore be regarded a Choir-Book meant to be placed in the choir of a monastery or a cathedral so that all the celebrating people could read from it while singing. Hence the big size of the music.
The content of the antiphonary in its present state is:

fols. 3v-18v: Antiphons for Sundays and weekdays in the first three weeks of Lent (incomplete)

Fols. 20r-28v The Office of the Dead (incomplete)
and 50r-53v

fols. 36r-38v: Antiphons for the feast of St. Agatha (5th February) (incomplete)

fols. 38r-41v. Antiphons for the feast of St. Bonaventura (14th July) (incomplete)

fols. 41bis Antiphons for Maundy Thursday (incomplete)

fols. 60r-62r: Antiphons for a feast not identified

fol. 62v: Antiphons for the feast of St. Joachim (16th August) (incomplete)

fols. 63r-71v: Sung parts of the feast of Gabriel the Archangel (24th March) (almost complete)

fols. 86r-88v: Sung parts for Good Friday (incomplete)

fols. 91r-97v: Sung parts for Easter Eve (incomplete)


Except for the Office of the Dead, which seems to have been rendered in full, the selection of the sung pieces is extremely limited. They mostly concentrate on antiphons sung at Vespers in connection with Magnificat and Benedictus.

The responsories from the Office of the Dead follows Roman use, and so do all the antiphons in the rest of the book except for the feast for Bonaventure (14th July), the feasts on fols. 60r to 70r, and the Office for the Archangel Gabriel (24th March) fols. 63r to 71v.

The existence of an office for Bonaventure (known as the second founder of the Franscican Order) may indicate that the book was made for a Franciscan convent. The Franciscans followed the Roman liturgy but had their own feasts as well. Did that include a special feast for Bonaventure and the Archangel Gabriel? Their texts in our Antifonale Speciale are not to be seen in the Roman Breviary.

There are some questions that have not received a satisfactory answer: Why was it urgent to produce an antiphonary with such a limited repertoire? Did the texts or melodies differ from those in the ordinary antiphonary of the place? If this is the case, what breviary or antiphonary did they differ from?

The Antiphonale Speciale can be seen on my homepage www.liturgy.dk. Click on the folio-number in the description to open a picture of the original manuscript page in question.


 

 
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