19.08.06 DiCenso and Maloy, Chant, Liturgy, and the Inheritance of Rome

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Bradford Lee Eden

The Medieval Review 19.08.06

DiCenso, Daniel J. and Rebecca Maloy. Chant, Liturgy, and the Inheritance of Rome. Henry Bradshaw Society. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2017. pp. xxiv, 572. ISBN: 978-1-90749-734-6 (hardback).

Reviewed by:
Brad Eden
Independent scholar and librarian
brad.l.eden@gmail.com

This substantial tome is a tribute to the life and career of medieval musicologist Joseph Dyer. His contributions to the history of chant and liturgy, specifically related to Rome, are documented in the preface and in the list of his publications provided at the end of the book. The nineteen essays had their genesis at the 2013 International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and through two conference sessions in honor of Dr. Dyer at the 2016 meeting of the Medieval Academy of America. The content is divided into four parts, each focusing on specific areas of specialization and interest on which Dr. Dyer has already published and/or presented at conferences. The editors hope that this celebration of his career (once called a festschrift) will add new scholarship and research to these areas of study.

Part I, "Medieval Rome and Ancient Rites," presents seven essays centered around the early medieval liturgy, music, rites, and influences on Rome's development as the primal see of Western Christiandom. Charles Atkinson documents the history, research, and influence of Greek elements in the development of the Roman mass, both the medieval and the recent musicological discussions and scholarship on the topic. Atkinson's transcriptions of the earliest neumes which survive of the “Doxa en ipsistis Theo” from the Missa graeca illustrate the importance and transmission of this particular Byzantine chant. The next contribution by Charles McClendon focuses on the early architectural history of Old Saint Peter's basilica, aptly describing what we know of its construction as well as what exactly it contained, including the location of Saint Peter's tomb and early veneration and pilgrimage to Rome. The development of the position of archdeacon in the medieval period, both inside and outside of Rome, is provided by John Romano. His documentation of the primary sources from the fourth to the early eleventh century is impressive, not only for specific cities and regions but also for the growing role of this particular position in the presentation of the medieval liturgy. The archdeacon became, through his important role in liturgical performance, a position which held strong political and religious power in the ecclesiastical hierarchy such that he usually became the successor of either the bishop (for the city/region) or for the pope (in Rome). The next essay by Edward Nowacki discusses the development of the earliest antiphons in the Roman Office, which the author states is the third in an ongoing series of studies on this topic. Nowacki specifically focuses in this chapter on the use of antiphonal and responsorial psalmody and singing, and how the primary sources and recent research lead the author to see the antiphon and the antiphonary as a new invention in early liturgical practice rather than one with an undocumented pre-history of monastic antiphonal psalmody. A large appendix supporting this thesis follows the essay. Thomas Forrest Kelly details the existing scholarship on one particular day and liturgical event in medieval Rome: Holy Saturday and the Paschal Vigil. The primary sources from the seventh to thirteenth centuries on this topic are thoroughly provided in an extensive appendix. Twelfth-century Rome and its architectural history are described by Catherine Carver in the next contribution, where she focuses on what is known as the Major Litany procession, the importance of specific parish churches within the Tiber Bend in this ritual, and particularly the role of bells and soundscape in political and ecclesiastical prestige and power. The final essay in this section by David Ganz examines one particular manuscript in light of Merovingian liturgy and instruction related to baptism and the scrutiny of the catechumens in the mid-late eighth century.

Part II, "The Liturgies of Italy," contains two essays focused on early liturgical practices outside of Rome but within the Italian peninsula. In the Hornby essay, four Easter Vigil canticles are analyzed from the Beneventan tradition, while the Nardini contribution examines how prosulas for tracts and graduals were composed and distributed throughout the Italian peninsula, and how they influenced the development of Latin secular songs in the tenth century.

Part III, "Books, Sources, and Reform in the Wake of Rome," shares four essays centered on what can be gleaned from surviving manuscripts, along with chant reform in the Carolingian and twelfth century. Susan Rankin encapsulates current knowledge on the use, memorization, and singing of the Psalms in the early medieval period, while the Haggh-Huglo essay examines over fifty proper Offices in Cambrai, Médiathèque municipale, MS 38 (late thirteenth to fifteenth centuries) in order to better understand how Office chants were organized in manuscripts. Daniel DiCenso revisits the research and importance of the Admonitio generalis text of March 23, 789, which has generally been regarded as the major document related to Carolingian liturgical reforms, and includes a stemma of the sources and a detailed appendix of historical dates and events from the eighth to eleventh centuries related to this topic. The Roman pontificals of the twelfth century (known as PR12) are a rich musicological and liturgical source for research of what is known as the Franco-Roman infiltration of the Roman liturgy, and some fascinating insights are provided on these manuscripts by James Borders.

Part IV, "Roman Foundations: Later Liturgical Developments," is comprised of six essays related to manuscripts, music, and liturgies for which direct or indirect influence from Rome can or might be determined. Susan Boynton provides an in-depth analysis of the contents of Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 17716, a manuscript from thirteenth-century Cluny which contains a remarkable collection of chants, tropes, sequences, and charters (her appendix lists the contents). A wonderful account of the effect which psalmody, music, and liturgy had on the daily life of medieval monks is described by Christopher Page, along with sources discussing and describing compunction in religious life in the Middle Ages. The fourteenth-century treatise Summa musice ascribed to John of Afflighem and the analyses of melodic tropes as an important concept for the study of Gregorian chant are documented by William Mahrt, while David Hiley's contribution examines the Proper Office chants for St. George in a number of twelfth-century south German manuscripts. The interesting soundscapes and inherent ecclesiastical and musical challenges of two major churches in thirteenth-century Paris (the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the king's private, royal church of Sainte-Chapelle) are wonderfully detailed by Rebecca Baltzer in her chapter, and Mary Wolinski discusses surviving music and manuscripts for the Confraternity of St. James in Paris between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries.

I can't recall such an eclectic yet well-rounded collection of scholarship and research on this period of musicological history in recent memory. A number of essays have excellent appendices, lists of manuscripts and their contents, and transcribed chants which enhance the importance and overall detail of the many contributions. The indices of chant incipits and manuscripts located at the end of the book are essential and wonderful guides for scholarly exploration and discovery of the contents of the chapters. My own recollections of seeing and hearing Dr. Dyer expounding and sharing his research at numerous sessions of the International Medieval Congresses at Kalamazoo, Michigan throughout my career are ones which I will always treasure and remember from the early 1980s up to the present. This book is an excellent tribute and compilation of new scholarship which does justice to the extensive career of a giant in the field of medieval musicology.

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