RISM—500 Years Ago

The year 1518 was in many respects shaped by important events, and particularly people, that you can find the RISM catalog relatively frequently. To name just two examples: In 1518, Martin Luther refused to revoke his 95 theses and the later Lutheran reformer Philipp Melanchthon held his inaugural speech as a new and young professor at the University of Wittenberg.

The RISM catalog has relatively little to offer from the year 1518, however. Two anthologies containing frottolas can be found: Canzoni Sonetti Strambotti & Frottole Libro Tertio (1518|1; RISM ID no. 993103897) and Frottole libro secondo (1518|2; RISM ID no. 993103899). Both song collections were published by Giacomo Mazzocchi in Rome. The Canzoni is a later printing of a publication from 1513 (1513|1; RISM ID no. 993103860).

Among the editions containing music by a single composer (originally published as A/I: Einzeldrucke vor 1800), there is only one single edition from 1518 and it is not even a pure music edition. At the end of Johannes Reuchlin's De accentibus et orthographia linguae Hebraicae (VD 16 R 1234; RISM S 3435, SS 3435; RISM ID no. 990059797), some Hebrew melodies appear and are arranged for four voices. The composer attribution can be found in the text one page before the music: "Harmonia[m] fecit Christopherus Sillingius." It is uncertain who that is exactly. The music is set from right to left, just as one reads Hebrew, so the clefs are also on the right-hand side (see image).

The print is one of the earliest examples of the Christian reception of Jewish language and music. Reuchlin was one of the few intellectuals of his time who incorporated Jewish culture into scholarship. As a result, he also engaged in a multitude of confrontations with anti-Semitic contemporaries.

Image: Excerpt from Johannes Reuchlin's De accentibus et orthographia linguae Hebraicae (Hagenau: Thomas Anshelm, 1518). RISM ID no. 990059797, Thüringer Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek, Jena (D-Ju) 4 Gl.II,52,  fol. 84r. Available online.


Catégorie : New at RISM

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