Aquileian Gradual

  • S. XIII; parchment; mm 180 × 125; ff. 191, Square notation on red tetragram.
  • Udine, ‘Biblioteca Arcivescovile’, 2 (former Oct. 2)

The sequence for Saints Hermagoras’ and Fortunatus’ mass, Plebs fidelis Hermachorae, is an unmistakable sign of the manuscript’s Aquileian provenance.

The Aquileian gradual text consists of the following main sections: chanted mnemonic verses with some fundamental rules of the music grammar (f. 1rv); gradual with added temporale and proper of Saints; offices of the dead; common of saints (f. 2r); troper (f. 149r) [the same content as in the Vatican ms. Ross. 76]; kyriale (f. 150v); sequentiary with added temporale and proper of Saints (f. 155r). At the end (f. 190v) the sequence for St. Hermagoras’ and St. Fortunatus’ [Ermagora e Fortunato] mass Plebs fidelis Hermachorae. The gradual is to be assigned to the Aquileian liturgical music tradition both due to reasons of hagiologic interest (presence of local saints) and to some choices of the texts according with local uses (series of Sunday’s hallelujahs). Beyond the traditional liturgical chants, the codex contains two melodies that could at a glance surprise: these are two poetic compositions (versus), comparable to processional chants (conductus) provided for their performance in a convivial milieu: AD MENSAM DICITUR O crucifer bone lucis sator (f. 86v) and VERSUS POST CIBUM Pastis visceribus ciboque sumpto. The texts set to music derive from the Liber Cathemerinon by Prudence (fourth-fifth century), III, 1-40, respectively. The monastic refectory and the Episcopal table were places for the body’s feeding without neglect of the spirit’s nourishment. It is important to observe that the two chants have two French parallels: a clue that supports the hypothesis of a western transalpine, albeit indirect, influence on the Friulian-Aquileian repertoire.

f. 149r, final section of Hallelujah Tu es vas electionis (St. Paul) and trop Hodie cantandus est introducing the 3rd Christmas Mass introit Puer natus

f. 149r, final section of Hallelujah Tu es vas electionis (St. Paul) and trop Hodie cantandus est introducing the 3rd Christmas Mass introit Puer natus

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