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A Late Renaissance Music Manuscript Unmasked

Richard Charteris (notes)


In the early seventeenth century, the Augsburg church of St Anna owned one of the largest collections of music editions and manuscripts in southern Germany. Most of these materials, a considerable number of which are now lost, were obtained during the tenure at St Anna of the prominent German composer Adam Gumpelzhaimer (1559-1625), who served as its Kantor and preceptor of its school for forty-four years, beginning in 1581. Until now, it has not been realized that the British Library possesses a Gumpelzhaimer autograph music manuscript, even though the existence of the manuscript material was reported in 1912, albeit without further details. The manuscript music, which Gumpelzhaimer copied in the sixteenth century, is bound with an edition that was published in Venice in 1576 and that contains works by the Italian composers Tiburzio Massaino and Ippolito Baccusi. The edition was not recorded in Gumpelzhaimer's 'Inventarium' of St Anna's music library, though indisputable evidence about its provenance appears in the source itself.

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