An Inconspicuous Relative of the Speciálník Codex. On the Dating and Structure of the Manuscript CZ–Pu VI C 20a
The music manuscript CZ–Pu VI C 20a, known as Racek’s collection (after the Czech humanist Jan Racek z Chotěřiny/Johannes Rodericus a Chotěřina), belongs to the main corpus of Bohemian Utraquist sources. It contains a miscellaneous selection of plainchant, cantiones, and polyphony, but precise dating of this source is still lacking. This study presents new findings based on a codicological analysis of the manuscript.
The dating of the paper points to four principal stages in the creation CZ–Pu VI C 20a: ca. 1450 (XV), ca. 1460 (VII–X), after 1490 – ca. 1510 (II, IX, XIII–XIV) and ca. 1520 – 1530s (I, III–VI, with later additions up to ca. 1550). The third chronological layer of the manuscript is contemporary with gatherings in the Speciálník Codex (CZ–HKm II A 7) written by the scribe B in the 1490s. Both manuscripts share twelve compositions as well as the same layout and a specific style of black and white initials. The collection was most likely connected with the school at the church of St Nicholas in the Lesser Town of Prague. This hypothesis is supported not only by the local context of some compositions shared with the Speciálník Codex – Patrem malostranské (Lesser Town Patrem) and Patrem Motyčkovo (Motyčka’s Patrem) – but also by the close connection between the probable last scribe of CZ–Pu VI C 20a and Jan Racek. Racek was employed as a school rector in 1540 and served as a city scribe in the Lesser Town from 1542. The manuscript, known to scholars already in the nineteenth century but neglected in research, is an important source for understanding the musical culture of the Bohemian lands in the period between ca. 1450 and 1550.
Keywords: CZ–Pu VI C 20a; Speciálník Codex CZ-HKm II A 7; music manuscript; 1450–1550; Lesser Town of Prague; Jan Racek z Chotěřiny / Johannes Rodericus a Chotěřina