West Meets East–Sacred Music from the Torino Codex

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Program: #11-24, Air Date: 06/06/11

The Schola Antiqua of Chicago gives us a rare glimpse into this manuscript of music from the late middle ages on the island of Cyprus.

NOTE: All of the music on this program comes from the recording West Meets East with the Schola Antiqua of Chicago. The CD is on the Discantus label and is CD 1002.
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Notes from the recording are below the music list.

1.Kyrie eleison       Three-voice polyphony   
2. Gloria in excelsis deo      Four-voice polyphony 
3. Alleluia. V. Ave sancte Ylarion    Plainchant 

4. Sequence for St. Hilarion: Exultantes collaudemus   Plainchant 
5. Credo in unum deum     Four-voice polyphony 
6. Sanctus        Three-voice polyphony 
7. Agnus dei      Plainchant 

8. Hymn for St. Anne: Lucis huius festa   Plainchant 
9. Motet: Magni patris magna mira/Ovent Cyprus  Four-voice polyphony 
10. Motet: Victima laudum pascalis/Victimis in pascalibus  Four-voice polyphony 

11. Motet: Qui patris atris honoris/Paraclite spiritus  Four-voice polyphony 
12. Rondeau: Rose, liz, printemps, verdure   Guillaume de Machaut (d. 1377) 


All but one piece of music on this album can be found in the early fifteenth-century Torino Codex (Torino, Biblioteca Nazionale MS J.II.9), an anonymous source of music that remains one of the few windows into Western music of that period. Although it is the largest musical source in the French tradition between the Ars nova manuscripts of the fourteenth century and the Franco-Burgundian manuscripts of the late fifteenth century, the music of the Torino Codex has attracted comparatively little attention from performing ensembles and scholars, no doubt stemming from the fact that almost all of the pieces are both anonymous and significantly lacking in concordances with other known sources. 

The music of the Torino Codex originated on the island of Cyprus in the mid-1410s within the court of King Janus I of the ruling Lusignan family from western France. But the manuscript ended up at the court of Savoy, possibly connected with Anne of Cyprus in her marriage to Louis of Savoy in 1433. Spanning some 159 folios and ranging from sacred plainchant and polyphony to secular song, the music was probably not written for public consumption nor a one-time hearing, but rather for repeated enjoyment by an intimate circle of singers and a small court audience. The source comprises five sections (fascicles) organized by genre—the first devoted solely to chant and the remaining four fascicles dedicated to sacred and secular polyphony. The music on this recording derives from the first three principal parts of the manuscript: chant (fascicle 1), Mass Ordinary movements (fascicle 2), and motets (fascicle 3). This is the first recording to be devoted solely to the sacred music of this important source.

CD Info

CD 1002