- Musik der mittelalterlichen Metropole. Räume, Identitäten und Kontexte der Musik in Köln und Mainz, ca. 900–1400 ed. by Fabian Kolb
Cologne and Mainz hold complementary positions as the major cities on the middle section of the Rhine, and throughout the Middle Ages their place as political and religious centres was enhanced in various ways by musical activity. This volume arises from a conference held in the two cities in October 2014 and consists of twenty-three articles (three in English, the remainder in German) spanning the ninth to the fifteenth centuries. In an opening discussion, Frank Hirschmann sets the scene of the cultural life of the two neighbouring cities, charting some of the distinctions which set them apart from one another from the late antique period onwards. In a wide-ranging survey, Fabian Kolb applies some of these observations more specifically to the function of music in reflecting the urban identity and topography of the cities. Andreas Haug considers the music manuscripts surviving from tenth-century Mainz, drawing new conclusions in the light of a recent book by Henry Parkes. There follow three chapters on tropes: Parkes himself discusses whether the Mainz Troper (now in the British Library) need be seen as evidence of rapid renewal in liturgical creativity; Michael Klaper compares the Mainz repertory with that of Reichenau, using evidence from a fourteenth-century Gradual/Missal recently discovered in Altengönna near Jena to posit a “rheinische Gruppe” of trope elements; and Lori Kruckenberg provides an overview of later trope sources associated with Cologne, convincingly associating the Proper tropes in the so-called “Drachenfels Missal” with the region of Bonn rather than the Cistercian abbey of Heisterbach, as had been previously assumed.
Three articles discuss the cult of saints, with more emphasis on Cologne than Mainz. Klaus Pietschmann discusses St Severin, the early bishop of Cologne who according to tenth-century accounts was affected by visions of choirs of angels and provides a comparison with the unrealised plans in thirteenth-century Mainz to promote the canonisation of Hildegard of Bingen. Stefan Morent considers the position of music in the various special offices and processions of saints in Cologne, and Susanne Witte kind assesses the stational liturgies of Cologne. The visual impact of the famous painted statues of angel-musicians installed in the choir of Cologne cathedral in the fifteenth century is set in a broader context of symbolic communication by Björn Tammen. Thomas Schmidt ruminates more widely on the concept of “urban” aspects of manuscript choirbooks in the same period, in terms both of choice of repertory and matters of presentation. This broad survey contrasts with a very focussed discussion by Karl Kügle of some narrow strips cut from a late-fourteenth or early-fifteenth-century motet manuscript, used to reinforce the binding of a book now in All Souls College, Oxford, but with earlier connections to Cologne. Kügle identifies the motet from the few notes and letters visible in the strips and proposes that this represents the earliest connection of such advanced polyphony with the Rhineland area.
The only chapter directly concerned with musical instruments is a survey by Franz Körndle, [End Page 379] of church accounts and related documents, which reveals information about the construction and maintenance of organs in larger churches, especially in Nuremberg. One wonders whether equivalent surveys of state archives would shed useful light on the use of instruments in civic and secular contexts, but this opportunity will have to await further investigation. Instead, our only glimpse of secular or courtly music-making is provided in two chapters on the Minnesänger: Henry Hope discusses the Mainzer Hoffest of 1184, and the ways in which its cosmopolitan environment may have enabled exchange of ideas; Marc Lewon meanwhile convincingly connects the miniatures in the famous Codex Manesse in Heidelberg to other depictions of Boethian music theory.