The First Ukrainian Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Music Manuscripts from Lviv is Online

Sofyja Holub

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

We have received the following from Sofyja Holub (RISM Ukraine):

The first Ukrainian collection of Medieval and Renaissance musical manuscripts that was cataloged in RISM is held at the Scientific Library of Ivan Franko National University in Lviv.

Cooperation between RISM and the library began in February 2019 in Lviv, when workshops were held on cataloging music sources in the online catalog of RISM. For three days, Guido Kraus conducted training for employees of educational and scientific institutions in Lviv: Vasyl Stefanyk National Scientific Library of Ukraine in Lviv, Mykola Lysenko Lviv National Music Academy and the Scientific Library of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. Among the experts there were the director of the library Vasyl Kmet (director of the Scientific Library), Mykola Ilkiv-Svydnytskyi (head of the Department of Manuscripts and Old Printed Books named after Vedir Maksymenko SL), and Sofiya Holub (librarian of the Department of Manuscripts and Old Printed Books named after Fedir Maksymenko SL).

During the training, the participants got acquainted with the online catalog of RISM and learned to use specific examples to catalog music sources with Muscat. Some time after the training, Sofiya Holub, as the project manager, began cataloging musical monuments in the international online catalog of RISM. In 2020, the project was completed.

In total 22 Latin manuscripts were cataloged that are stored in the Department of Manuscripts, Old Prints and Rare Books named after Fedir Maksymenko Scientific Library of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (RISM library siglum: UA-LVu). These are liturgical books that represent the tradition of Gregorian monody of the 15th-18th centuries. These are antiphonaries, graduals, kyriales and missales containing square, Gothic and mensural musical notation.

The biggest collection in the university’s book collection is a set of manuscripts from the Lviv Cathedral Church of the Latin Rite. The cathedral library, which was later merged with the library of the Chapter into one book collection, was one of the important centers for the city’s culture. There is no doubt that the cathedral library possessed valuable Latin manuscripts, at least manuscript liturgical books. The book collection of the Cathedral Library was replenished through liquidated libraries, thanks to the gifts of Lviv archbishops and canons.

Liturgical books, first handwritten, then printed, appeared in several inventories (one of the oldest lists dates from 1630, others from 1659, 1756 and from the 19th century). Thanks to them you can learn that some books were donated by local archbishops and canons. These manuscripts were later donated and transferred to the Scientific Library of the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.

As part of the project, a unique monument of Polish Renaissance lute music for six-string and seven-string lute was cataloged. The manuscript is dated 1555-1592. The lute tablature includes a selection of Italian, French, German, English and Polish music, as well as intabulation of polyphonic vocal compositions, songs, dances, and fantasies. The manuscript contains several unique compositions that make the tablature an important, unique source. Music in the Lviv tablature is recorded in French tablature notation and Italian notation. All 57 compositions that are marked in the manuscript can be viewed online with music incipits.

The project resulted in the presentation of cataloged manuscripts during an academic conference held online on May 6, 2021. In the session “Ukrainian experience of global cataloging: the first music collection in RISM” the following spoke: Vasyl Kmet (Director of the Scientific Library), Guido Kraus (RISM Editorial Center), musicologist, lecturer at the Academy of Music in Basel (Switzerland) Angelika Mots, and Ivan Dukhnych, art director of the Swiss association “Haliciana Schola Cantorum,” and Sofiya Holub.

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