In 2019 and 2020 two largely intact parchment bifolios containing Ars nova polyphony were found independently in Milan-area libraries: one at the Biblioteca Universitaria in Pavia by Giuseppe Mascherpa (independent scholar) and Federico Saviotti (University of Pavia) and the other at the Biblioteca Trivulziana in Milan by Anne Stone. In May 2021, Saviotti, Stone, and Antonio Calvia realized that the two bifolios belonged to the same original manuscript, and began a joint project to study them together. This talk presents findings from our initial research into the origins, provenance, and contents of the “Codice San Fedele-Belgioioso,” a compilation of mass ordinary movements and secular songs whose internal evidence points strongly to a provenance in the Milan area c. 1400. The 12 compositions that survive appear to be unica: three mass ordinary compositions and nine French-texted songs with two surviving voices. The measurements of these bifolios (approximately 465x620 mm, with a page size of approximately 465 mm tall and 310 wide) are larger than any surviving manuscripts of polyphony contemporary with them, and the quality of the parchment and the elegance of the hand make it clear that the manuscript was professionally copied for an institution that had considerable resources. These finds thus have the potential to significantly expand our scanty knowledge of cultivated polyphony in late medieval Lombardy.
Free to attend, register here.
About the series
This long-running series of seminars, convened by Dr Margaret Bent, considers all aspects of medieval and renaissance music. It usually consists of a talk by an invited speaker and then a period of questions, to which all attendees are encouraged to contribute.
Note on Hilary Term, 2022
The first (individual) presentation will be about half an hour, followed by invited discussants who will engage the speaker in conversation about the paper. The two joint presentations will have no additional discussants. In all cases, the floor will be opened for comments and questions by others after about an hour.