500 Years of the “Liber selectarum cantionum”

In RISM’s catalog of anthologies from the 16th century (Series B/I), we find a total of six entries from the year 1520. Four of these are motet collections, and the other two are a collection of frottolas and one of chansons. Over twenty copies from the anthology Liber selectarum cantionum are preserved.

In his 2016 dissertation, “Same same but different - die erhaltenen Exemplare des ‘Liber selectarum cantionum’ (Augsburg 1520),” Torge Schiefelbein compared nineteen of the surviving copies and demonstrates that each one of them is unique.

It is unclear what occasioned this book to come about. Perhaps it was commissioned by the dedicatee Matthäus, the archbishop of Salzburg (1468-1540). The edition was published by Sigismund Grimm and Marcus Wyrsung in Augsburg. Ludwig Senfl (after 1489- ca. 1543) was the editor and also contributed seven motets. The other motets for four, five, or six voices are by Heinrich Isaac, Josquin des Prez, Pierre de La Rue, Jacob Obrecht, Jean Mouton, and Heinrich Isaac.

Image: Title page of the Liber selectarum cantionum from the copy held by the Württembergische Landesbibliothek (D-Sl Ra16Lib1).


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