- Ludwig Senfl (c.1490–1543): A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works and Sources. Volume 1: Catalogue of the Works. Volume 2: Catalogue of the Sources–Abbreviations, Bibliography, Indexes by Stefan Gasch and Sonja Tröster, in collaboration with Birgit Lodes
For more than a decade now, scholars associated with the University of Vienna (Stefan Gasch, Sonja Tröster, Birgit Lodes) have undertaken a multipronged effort to re-examine the life, music, and historical significance of Ludwig Senfl. To date this ambitious endeavour has included three volumes of essays (Senfl-Studien [Tutzing: Hans Schneider; Wien: Hollitzer, (2012)–]), an ongoing new critical edition, and an online catalogue (http://www.senflonline.com). To these efforts can now be added a magisterial two-volume catalogue raisonné, devoted entirely to Senfl's works and their sources. Sweeping in scope, this project masterfully corrals a sprawling array of primary, secondary, and tertiary source materials into a single, easy-to-use repository, offering the fullest portrait yet of one of sixteenth-century Germany's most important musical figures.
Volume 1 of the catalogue raisonné comprises a full catalogue of Senfl's works. The catalogue listing itself is preceded by a wealth of introductory material: a detailed preface, a lengthy explanatory guide showing how to navigate both the works and sources catalogues, and several charts listing various technical details (abbreviations, correspondences between RISM and Census-Catalogue sigla, former shelfmarks of select manuscripts, a particular listing of sources in Ratsschulbibliothek Zwickau, a list of contrafacta with catalogue numbers, cross-references of several motets that could also be categorised as Mass proper settings).
Gasch and Tröster begin their preface with some historiography, outlining at various stages what was known about Senfl's repertory, how it was interpreted, and the history of efforts to create a complete works edition. They vividly describe historical biases under which scholars have traditionally emphasised certain genres (Lieder) above others (motets, Mass propers), and have overly privileged Senfl's nationalist and Lutheran connections. Though Senfl's importance to sixteenth-century Germany has certainly been understood to a considerable extent, Gasch and Tröster assert that the catalogue's up-to-date source tracking now enables a more thoroughgoing appreciation of his pervasive influence. Senfl emerges through this portrait as something of a cultural nexus, a figure whose music deeply penetrated the major courtly, civic, and theological currents of his time.
Among the more intriguing discoveries from Gasch and Tröster's catalogue [End Page 180] research are several previously unknown compositions, either definitively or possibly by Senfl, as well as more than a dozen motets and songs whose attribution to Senfl must now be questioned. In cases of anonymous works where a connection to Senfl has been proposed, Gasch and Tröster have opted to include these for the sake of prompting further research, but with signs indicating their level of confidence with the attribution. Also of great importance are a number of new concordances, which for several Senfl works have led to proposals of new dating. One dramatic instance of this is Senfl's cycle of Magnificats, published in 1537; these pieces have now been dated to the early 1520s, thanks to a notation indicating the year '1523' above one of the settings in a single surviving partbook (D-WGlh ss 2181). Besides pushing back Senfl's composition date for these pieces, this discovery has important implications for our larger sense of the eight-tone Magnificat cycle's development as a genre, moving Senfl into a more pioneering position than before.
Entries for the catalogue are arranged by genre, with appropriate cross-references for cases where genre might be ambiguous (as is often the case with Senfl, particularly with distinctions between Proper settings and motets, or motets and songs). Pieces are given a catalogue...