Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-cxxrm Total loading time: 0.228 Render date: 2021-12-03T08:37:09.598Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

4 - English Alabaster Images As Recipients of Music in the Long Fifteenth Century: English Sacred Traditions in a European Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 September 2019

†Philip Weller
Affiliation:
University of Nottingham
Andrew Kirkman
Affiliation:
University of Birmingham
Get access

Summary

PROLOGUE: ETON COLLEGE, CIRCA 1480

From at least around 1480 – but probably also from much closer to the beginnings of Henry VI's college in the 1440s (the official foundation was in 1440, a year before that of King's College, Cambridge), – every evening after Vespers and Compline the singing men and choristers of Eton chapel processed down from their stalls in the chancel to a position below the rood screen, in a space open and accessible to the public. Here, a devotional action (the so-called ‘Salve ceremony’) was performed in honour of the Blessed Virgin, in front of her sculpted image (Our Lady of Eton). Music and intercession alike were directed, in principle and also in physical fact, towards this statue. The musical settings functioned as direct greetings and eulogies to Mary, the sculpture marking (physically) her sacred presence. Ceremony and devotion were material and spiritual at the same time.

In this way, the statue of Mary and the Marian music were spatially and psychologically connected – and, moreover, all bystanders were in theory made welcome for the sequence of short prayers and devotional texts that were chanted and recited at this event. The texts were preceded and/or followed by a polyphonic votive antiphon, a sophisticated and sometimes richly elaborate musical genre which enjoyed the greatest imaginable popularity in the later Middle Ages in many types of institutions and choral foundations, as well as in smaller churches. This type of votive event was thus an important point of access to art and music, in a devotional context, for the general, non-clerical public.

This scene – of a shared moment of ‘poetic’ devotion and ceremony, (re) enacted day by day in front of a revered cultic statue, and performed with music and lighting of technical and aesthetic sophistication – was both special (in its poetry and beauty) and ordinary (in its regularity). It may stand as an illustrative and perhaps emblematic prologue to the present study. It was a type of scene that was repeated all over England, indeed all over Catholic Europe, from the fourteenth through to the sixteenth century, in a variety of ways and styles.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×