As local traditions of the Catholic Church were suppressed in the 17th century, so Esztergom, the ecclesiastical centre of Hungary was deprived of its medieval rite and associated style of Gregorian chant. The place and function of the earlier repertory were assumed by a quite new type of chant, created from earlier curial melodies according to the humanist aesthetics of a new era. This revised repertory was transmitted by post-Tridentine printed chant books emanating from Italian, French and Dutch printers, which became prevalent all over Europe, including Hungary. The editions of the new
that have emerged from various Hungarian libraries constitute material hitherto unknown to musical reception research. This study marks an initial attempt to summarize the early findings of a new examination of the sources and answer several questions: Which editions were ordered by which ecclesiastical institutions? How and in what quantities were the editions available? What types of liturgical chant books have survived in Hungarian collections? How can the editions be grouped chronologically? What do the possessor’s notes reveal? How do musical variants in the editions relate to each other?
This study surveys the musical notation appearing in the liturgical manuscripts of the Order of St. Paul the First Hermit from the fourteenth until the eighteenth century. As a Hungarian foundation, the Pauline Order adopted one of the most elaborate and proportionate Gregorian chant notations of the medieval Catholic Church, the mature calligraphic Hungarian/Esztergom style, and used it faithfully, but in a special eremitical way in its liturgical manuscripts over an exceptionally long period, far beyond the Middle Ages. The research sought to study all the Pauline liturgical codices and codex fragments in which this Esztergom-Pauline notation emerges, then record the single neume shapes and supplementary signs of each source in a database. Systematic comparison has produced many results. On the one hand, it revealed the chronological developments of the Pauline notation over about four centuries. On the other hand, it has been possible to differentiate notation variants, to separate a rounded-flexible and a later more angular, standardized Pauline writing form based on the sources, thereby grasping the transition to Gothic penmanship at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. A further result of the study is the discovery of some retrospective Pauline notation types connected to the Early Modern and Baroque period, after the Tridentine Council. The characteristics of the notations of the choir books in the Croatian and the Hungarian Pauline provinces have been well defined and some individual subtypes distinguished – e.g. a writing variant of the centre of the Croatian Pauline province, Lepoglava.
The Budapest National Széchényi Library keeps a Pauline manuscript compiled in 1644. Based on a possessor’s entry at its very beginning, the source Cod. Lat. 794 has so far been referred to in the literature as the Pauline Processional of Újhely but its content has never been thoroughly investigated. The original aim of this study was to fill this gap by carrying out a codicological, liturgical and musical survey and, finally, producing a full description and detailed evaluation of the manuscript. However, the many-sided analysis has eventually led to unexpected findings, which make the earlier consensus about the provenance of the book questionable. First of all, while the manuscript uses the typical Pauline notation, its style and ductus differ markedly from the notation of the 1623 Gradual belonging definitely to the monastery of (Sátoralja)újhely, whereas it shows striking similarities to 17th–18th-century manuscripts of the Croatian Paulines. Other characteristics such as the sequence and designation of the stations in the processional topography and the last unit of the book, which is a notated Passional in Croatian language, point toward Lepoglava, the centre of the Pauline province as the possible provenance. A comparative analysis of the melodies also support this hypothesis.