Antiphons for St. Catherine of Siena. Gregorian Chant leaf, c.1600, Spain.

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“Greatest is Catherine, Virgin of Siena..."

 Recto:  7 lines of music notation in square and diamond shaped neumes and text in Latin written in a gothic bookhand on parchment. Five line staves with a key signature.  Rubrics in red.  One large decorative initial, ‘M’ in orange with internal foliate designs. 

Verso:   As Recto, with a similar decorative initial ‘O’. 

Origin:  Spain.

Date:   c.1600.

Content:  The initial ‘'M' on Recto begins the Magnificat antiphon to Catherine:

Maxima est catharine virginis senensis praestati a que incolumitatem  languentibus et vitam mortuis restituere potuit, alleluia.

(Greatest is Catherine, Virgin of Siena, through whom He was able to restore safety to the sick and life to the dead, alleluia.)

Verso includes another antiphon to Catherine:

O Virgo maxima gloria a praestans...

(O virgin, outstanding with the highest honour, all the world celebrates on this day your appointed solemnities.  The angels extol you with praises...)

Condition:  The leaf is in excellent condition. Recto is in near fine condition with just the expected corner staining from page turning .  Recto has slight black ink loss to the neumes.  The Verso initial is in fine condition.  The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Notes:  An antiphon (Greek ἀντίφωνον, ἀντί "opposite" and φωνή "voice") in Christian music and ritual is a a short sentence sung by a choir or congregation before or after a psalm or canticle.  It is usually in the form of a Gregorian chant.  The words of the antiphons are related to the theme of the feast day or celebration and most frequently have something in common with the liturgical readings of the Mass.

Antiphonal music is music that is performed by two semi-independent choirs in interaction, often singing alternate musical phrases.  The parent book of this leaf was an Antiphonal, a very large book that was placed on a lectern so that all members of the choir could see it, and sing from it.

Saint Gregory I, known as Gregory the Great, (born c. 540, Rome—died March 12, 604, Rome), Pope (590–604)  was elected pope in 590.His extensive re-codification of the liturgy and plainchant led to his name being given to Gregorian chant.  According to legend, Gregorian chant was the most sacred and authentic form of liturgical chant as it was believed to have been sung to Gregory  by the Holy Spirit who appeared to him in the form of a white dove.  The dove is usually depicted hovering close to his ear while singing its sacred melodies as Gregory simultaneously writes them down. 

St. Catherine of Siena (b. 1347, Siena, Tuscany—d. 1380, Rome), canonised in 1461, is one of the outstanding figures of medieval Catholicism due to the strong influence she had in the history of the papacy and her extensive authorship.  She was behind the return of the Pope from Avignon to Rome, and then carried out many missions entrusted to her by the pope, something quite rare for a woman in the Middle Ages.She is one of only four women to be named Doctor of the church, meaning that her writings, including her mystical The Dialogue and her prayers and letters, have special authority in Roman Catholicism. She is a patron saint of Europe and of Italy.

Size:  Leaf: approx. 580x410 mm.  Please note that shipping is invoiced separately.  This very large leaf will be shipped, carefully rolled, in a tube.


Item No:  MMU071

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