Cantus Network

libri ordinarii of the Salzburg metropolitan province



The Liber ordinarius of the Augustinian monastery of Klosterneuburg

A number of scholars have already addressed the history of the liturgical monophonic music in the Augustinian chapter of canons in Klosterneuburg during the Middle Ages (esp. Robert Klugseder, Debora Lacoste, Michael L. Norton and Franz Karl Praßl). Fortunately, the source situation for this important Austrian monastery is very good. Besides numerous codices now held in the monastery library (including the antiphonaries A-KN 1012 and 1013), several sources of Klosterneuburg's liturgical music have survived in Graz University Library (Graduale A-Gu 807) and the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (including the gradual-sacramentary A-Wn cod. 13314).

According to monastery tradition, the institution was founded by Leopold III and his wife Agnes in 1114. For a long time, the day the foundation stone was laid, 12 June 1114, was regarded as the date of the monastery's foundation. The actual dedication of the Marienkirche (patrocinium the Nativity of Mary) took place on 29 September 1136. The monastery was turned into a house for Augustinian canons that same year. The canons of the founding community allegedly came from Salzburg cathedral chapter, Chiemsee monastery, Rottenbuch, and St. Nikola in Passau. On important aspect to consider when evaluating the liturgical tradition is that there were two, sometimes even three Augustinian monasteries in Klosterneuburg at the same time. Besides the chapter of canons at St. Maria, there was also a chapter of canonesses at St. Magdalena – probably from 1136 to 1568 – and a chapter of canonesses at St. Jacob from 1261 to 1432.

Drawing on research thus far, we can assume that the high medieval sources with unlined neume notation were used in the monastery of St. Maria, while the manuscripts with early lined notation were in use in the convent of St. Magdalena. Earlier research referred to this highly specific form of lined notation as "Klosterneuburg notation". Research by Robert Klugseder suggests that it originated in Augsburg during the 1120s; Klosterneuburg is simply the place with the most extensive corpus of sources containing this special notation.

The surviving Libri ordinarii of Klosterneuburg contain the liturgical traditions of the canons and only refer to the canonesses' participation in regard to joint celebrations. The ordinarii should basically be classed as local adaptations and developments of the diocesan liturgy of Passau, but not as direct copies of the Passau Liber ordinarius. The ordinarii contain numerous references to local celebrations, processions, churches, chapels and actors and thus constitute an extremely valuable historical source. The oldest of these ordinarii, Cod. 1213 of Klosterneuburg monastery library (KNB1), was produced comparatively late around 1325. Cod. 625 (KNB2) was copied a few years later, Cod. 983 (KNB3) around 1398. The most recent ordinarius, Cod. 1014 (KNB4), was written around 1500 and contains numerous liturgical innovations that derive from a range of causes: for one, Passau's diocesan liturgy was revamped several times over the course of the 15th century and new feasts added. Some of these innovations were also adopted in Klosterneuburg. In the 15th century, the rising Habsburg emperors pushed for the canonisation of the Babenberg Margrave Leopold III. Leopold, who had died in 1136 and was buried in his foundation of Klosterneuburg, was canonised in 1485. This event influenced the monastery's liturgical practice, not least through the introduction of a specially composed Leopold historia. Another striking feature of KNB4 is the comprehensive linguistic revision of the Latin in the rubrics as a result of monastic humanism.

by Gionata Brusa

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