Historical works of monodic liturgical music from the territory of Slovakia represent valuable source material, thanks to which we can reconstruct medieval music culture of our area. There have been preserved only a little number of the complete manuscripts in Slovakia. The majority of the codices originate in the 14th–15th centuries.
Manuscripts of the Former Chapter Library in Bratislava.
The Bratislava Missal I from the former Bratislava´s Chapter library (before 1341, today Bratislava Town Archive EC Lad. 3, EL 18, EC Lad. 1/21, Bratislava City Museum A/9, Spolok sv. Vojtecha (St. Vojtech’s Association) in Trnava; Bratislava Notated Missal, in the central-European area known as Missale Notatum Strigoniense) is one of the most important medieval musical works from the territory of Slovakia. The place of the manuscript’s origin was presumably Esztergom – the main church centre of the medieval Hungary. From the second third of the 14th century was the missal used in Bratislava. The mass chants repertory presents the Esztergom musical and also liturgical tradition. It holds exceptional position in the mass liturgy history, because it is the oldest, nearly completely preserved item of the mass monodic chants in the medieval Hungary.
From the former Bratislava’s chapter library also comes the four of Bratislava antiphonaries from the 15th century. The Bratislava Antiphonary I (Bratislava Town Archive EC Lad.4), the two-volume Bratislava Antiphonary IIa and IIb (Bratislava Town Archive EC Lad. 4, Slovak National Archive 4, Bratislava Town Museum A/49), the Bratislava Antiphonary III (Bratislava Town Archive EC Lad. 6), the Bratislava Antiphonary IV (Slovak National Archive 2, Bratislava Town Archive EC Lad.2/47) were created by professional local notators – scribes. Provenance affiliation of individual antiphonaries determined mostly the fact, to what extent were pursued the selection and arrangement of the liturgical chants of certain local rite or tradition. For many centuries the Bratislava Chapter as important church institution held the tradition from the main medieval Hungary church centre – Esztergom. Medieval churches in Bratislava followed the Esztergom archdiocese liturgical and also musical praxis. The Bratislava antiphonaries I, IIa and IIb, III and IV document the Esztergom liturgical tradition very precisely. Codicological parameters concerning the script, the illuminations and the used type of notation indicate signs of autonomy.
The Bratislava antiphonary IV is one of the most important notated medieval period sources from our territory. Together with the Bratislava Antiphonary I it contains the most authentic form of the yearly office chants praxis in the Bratislava Chapter. It preserves liturgical and musical practice of the most important medieval Hungary church centre – Esztergom. The antiphonary was created for the needs of the Bratislava Chapter, where it was used for a long period. Numerous inscribed notational and scribal notices from the 16th and even from the beginning of the 17th century (unfolded titles of feasts, Sundays, chants and the like) prove it. The Bratislava Antiphonary IV together with the Bratislava Antiphonary I makes a couple of important sources of the first half of the 15th century, which originated directly in the Bratislava Chapter’s scriptorium. The both antiphonaries record the melodic– liturgical tradition of the Esztergom rite in especially precise form (similarly as the Breviarium Zagrabiensae MR 67 from the end of the 13th century, Breviarium Notatum Strigoniense from the 13th century from the Strahov Premostratensian Library in Prague, the Istanbul Antiphonary – 1360/1370, the Pauline antiphonaries from the 15th century, printed normative Breviarium Strigoniense from 1484 etc.). The Bratislava antiphonary IV contains chants of the winter–spring period. Preserved have been a temporal and also a sanctoral.
The Bratislava antiphonary I contains office chants of the summer–autumn liturgical year’s part. It begins with the later written folio with Marian antiphons “Nigra sum sed formosa”, “Sancta est speciosa”, “Florens rosa”, “Salve regina”; main part of the codex follows: a temporal – from the sixth Easter Saturday to the feast In Dedicatione ecclesiae, then a sanctoral – from the feast “Iohannis ante portam Latinam” to the feast of St. Catherine followed by Commune sanctorum. At the end of the manuscript are invitatories. For study and comparative research are exceptionally important preserved notated offices on the feasts of the greatest Hungarian saints and patrons of Bratislava’s churches – St. Ladislaus, St. Stephen the King, St. Andrew and Benedict, St. Margaret, St. Lawrence, St. Emmeram, St. Adalbert (Translatio), St. Martin, St. Elisabeth of Hungary. Great part of the codex is dedicated to Marian feasts – Visitatio BMV, Assumptio BMV, Commemoratio BMV, In Nativitate Sanctae Mariae virginis.
The Bratislava Antiphonary IIa and IIb were created during 1487–1488 on the initiative of the Bratislava chapter’s canon Ján Han, probably in St. Martin’s Cathedral scriptorium. Its illuminator was an artist, influenced by the Salzburg works from Ulrich Schreier´s circle. The Bratislava Antiphonary IIb contains chants for winter–spring part of the liturgical year. The Bratislava Antiphonary IIa continues with chants of the summer–autumn period. Both codices have a temporal and also a sanctoral, whereas the sanctoral of the Bratislava Antiphonary IIa with the feasts of Hungarian saints was almost completely damaged. Melodic variants of the Bratislava Antiphonary IIa correspond with the Esztergom liturgical tradition, preserved in the Bratislava Antiphonary I. However, the Bratislava Antiphonary IIb diverges slightly from this melodic area and it is directed to rather peripheral melodic variants.
The Bratislava Antiphonary III from the end of the 15th century is an important source of the medieval Hungary chief codices group. It is considered to be one of the Buda scriptorium’s manuscripts. Some fragments of the Bratislava Antiphonary III (21 folios) have been found in the inheritance of Nándor Knauz, while they were marked by Esztergom archive´s signatures. Presently are deposited in the National Széchény Library in Budapest (A 23/III, V). With its liturgical and musical content does not diff er from the codices used in Bratislava, which codified the Esztergom tradition extremely precisely. Melodic variants of the antiphonary are almost identical with the Esztergom Antiphonary (Mss. I. 3) from the Main Diocese Library in Esztergom. The Bratislava Antiphonary III contains office chants of the winter-spring and the summer–autumn part of the liturgical year (temporal) without the sanctoral chants. The codex has been preserved considerably damaged. The introduction is missing parts with the chants of the entire advent period as well as the part of the Christmas office chants (The Feast of the Nativity, Nativity octave antiphons, the first vespers and the introductory part of the matins from the feast of St. Stephen, the Martyr).
The Spiš Chapter´s Manuscripts.
In the Spiš diocese archive in the Spiš Chapter have been preserved two medieval notated codices. The Spiš Gradual by George of Kežmarok (1426, Ms.Mus.No.1) and the Spiš Antiphonary (Ms.Mus. No.2), which are from the 15th century. Both codices belonged to the oldest library collection and are still deposited in the original place.
The Gradual was made for the Church of St. Martin in the Spiš Chapter. It was finished on the feast of the Holy Trinity, on Saturday 25 May 1426 to order of the Spiš provost George from Kežmarok. It begins with mass chants of the 4th Lent week. Initial 62 folios from the manuscript are missing. A temporal ends with the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, then follow a sanctoral and Commune sanctorum. Last part of the codex contains sequences (68, 6 sequences are of the Hungarian provenance). Liturgy of the codex documents the Spiš regional tradition, where besides Czech (south German) and Esztergom liturgy, influence of Polish sources can be found. According to palaeographic analysis the Spiš Antiphonary was created in the third quarter of the 15th century. It was the second part of the originally two-volume codex. It contains liturgical chants for summer-autumn period of the liturgical year (Pars Aestivalis, a temporal and also a sanctoral). Esztergom (Hungarian) liturgical tradition had crucial influence on the repertory and structure of the antiphonary’s office forms, with numerous individual elements, since the tradition was transformed many times. In this context we can speak about the typical Spiš liturgical tradition, which made a peripheral variation to the central Esztergom rite.
Translation: Lucia Hrkútová