The Music Anthology of Hermann Pötzlinger
This three-year research project (2004/7) was funded by a large grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and carried out by Professor Peter Wright (Project Director) and Ian Rumbold (Senior Research Fellow).
The focal point of the project is one of the most important surviving sources of late medieval polyphony: manuscript Clm 14274 of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, known to musicologists as the 'St Emmeram Codex' because of its association with the Benedictine monastery of St Emmeram in Regensburg. The owner and compiler of the manuscript was a priest named Hermann Pötzlinger, who came from Bayreuth, studied at the University of Vienna in the 1430s (and possibly later at the University of Leipzig) and spent the last part of his life as schoolmaster at St Emmeram. On his death in 1469 he bequeathed a large personal library of about 110 books to the monastery.
During the 1430s and early 1440s Pötzlinger and his assistants assembled an anthology of over 250 musical compositions drawn from across Europe. These represent most of the main styles and genres of the period and include works by major figures such as Du Fay and Dunstaple as well as composers who are relatively unfamiliar or otherwise unknown. Most of the compositions are written in an international style, but a substantial number employ musical styles (and forms of notation) local to central Europe, the region where the manuscript originated. It is the inclusion of this repertory, more than anything else, which lends the manuscript its distinctive character.
The St Emmeram Codex has at times been the object of intensive enquiry, yet so complex are its history and physical make-up, so numerous and interesting its links with individuals and institutions, that it still offers great scope for further study. The present project investigates the history, function and physical make-up of the source, the career of its owner and principal compiler, and the relationship of the musical codex to his extensive personal library. It also includes an examination of the manuscript's central European repertory and the contexts in which it was composed and performed. A jointly authored monograph is planned for the presentation of the main research findings.
Please direct any project enquiries to Peter Wright or Ian Rumbold.