Hudební Věda

Used Hymnbooks. An Annotated Copy of Valentin Triller’s Ein Christlich Singebuch

article summary

Antonio Chemotti

This article maps the practice of annotating printed music sources by focussing on PL–Wu SDM 93, a heavily annotated copy of Valentin Triller’s Ein Christlich Singebuch (Wrocław: Scharffenberg, 1559).

I propose that the scribe who annotated PL–Wu SDM 93 was a Lutheran organist active in Silesia, probably in the duchies of Liegnitz–Brieg–Wohlau (nowadays Legnica–Brzeg–Wołów). He had access to PL–Wu SDM 93 over a longer period of time between the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries, and he put much care into improving its us- ability. By analysing selected handwritten rubrics, I discuss the scribe’s reading of Triller’s hymns, revealing fascinating facets of their reception history. This discloses, for instance, the rationale behind the use of a hymn during a specific liturgy and the exegetical potential of such performances.

Analysing cross references and additions, I identify some of the hymnbooks the scribe had access to, such as the Kirchengeseng (Ivančice: [no printer], 1566), Johannes Leisentrit’s Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen (Bautzen: Hans Wolrab, 1567), and Johannes Pontanus’s LII. Geistliche Gesenge Deutsch und Lateinisch (Frankfurt an der Oder: Andreas Eichorn, 1600). Interestingly, these sources belonged to different Christian denominations, but they were published in central European regions close to Silesia. This accounts not only for the fact that they were available to the scribe, but also for their proximity to the musical culture with which he must have been acquainted.

Finally, I discuss some examples of correction and recomposition of polyphonic hymns, revisions that show the scribe’s dissatisfaction with the hymns’ music as it was edited and notated by Triller. Indeed, some of the scribe’s interventions reveal a changed understanding of counterpoint and polyphonic texture. This offers further insights into the modus operandi and the musical culture of an unknown musician from early modern Silesia.

Keywords: Valentin Triller; Lutheran hymnody; hymnbooks; annotations; Silesia

The complete text of this article can be found in the printed edition of Hudební věda 4/2020.