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De rebus incertis: Stephen of Liège and the Divine Office

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 September 2020



Most standard musicological references attribute to Bishop Stephen of Liège (†920) the composition of three Offices: for the Holy Trinity, the feast of Saint Lambert (bishop of Liège in the early eighth century to whom the city's cathedral is dedicated) and the Invention of Saint Stephen the protomartyr. From statements by Richarius, Stephen's successor at Liège, and Folcuin of Lobbes (both from the tenth century), and the eleventh-century account of Anselm of Liège, along with the evidence in Brussels, Bibliothèque royale, MS 14650-59 (a tenth-century manuscript produced at Liège during Stephen's episcopate), I conclude that Stephen of Liège did have a hand in the Offices for Saint Lambert and the Holy Trinity. Although he may have composed chants for Saint Lambert, he more likely revised existing ones for the Trinity. No tenth- or eleventh-century testimony attests the attribution of the Office for the Invention of Saint Stephen to Bishop Stephen.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press, 2020

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An earlier version of this article was presented at the meeting of the American Musicological Society in Louisville, 13 November 2015. It forms part of a larger project to prepare a study and critical edition of the Office of the Trinity as it was celebrated and transmitted at Saint Martial in Limoges during the first half of the eleventh century. For a list of manuscripts with their sigla and reproductions, see Appendix 1.


1 See, for example, Michel Huglo, ‘Stephen of Liège’, Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online.; and Pirenne, Christophe, ‘Lüttich’, trans. Korell, Susanne, in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. Finscher, Ludwig, Sachteil 5, 2nd edn (Kassel, 1996), cols. 1517–21Google Scholar, at 1517.

2 Antoine Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise au Xe siècle: Étienne de Liége, Académie Royale de Belgique, Classe des Beaux-Arts, Mémoires, 2, fasc. 1 (Brussels, 1923). See also Close, Jules, Simenon, G. and Auda, Ant., ‘Le millénaire d'Etienne, évêque de Liége 920–1920’, Leodium, 13 (1920), 125–52Google Scholar. Liège seems to have become the standard spelling only in the post-World War II period; practice before then varies.

3 Close, Florence, ‘L'office de la Trinité d’Étienne de Liège (901–920): Un témoin de l'héritage liturgique et théologique de la première réforme caroligienne à l'aube du Xe siècle’, Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire, 86 (2008), 623–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar; eadem, ‘De l'office de la Trinité pour le diocèse de Liège au Xe siècle: Liège, Metz, Mayence, Saint-Gall’, in Évêque et Prince: Notger et la Basse-Lotharingie aux alentours de l'an Mil, ed. Alexis Wilkin and Jean-Louis Kupper, Série Histoire 2 (Liège, 2013), 355–68; Page, Christopher, The Christian West and Its Singers: The First Thousand Years (New Haven and London, 2010), 383–4Google Scholar; Saucier, Catherine, A Paradise of Priests: Singing the Civic and Episcopal Hagiography of Medieval Liège, Eastman Studies in Music (Rochester, 2014), 52–7Google Scholar.

4 Anselm of Liège, Gesta episcoporum Tungrensium, Traiectensium et Leodiensium 2.20–1, ed. Rudolf Koepke, in Monumenta Germaniae Historica (hereafter MGH), Scriptores 7, ed. Georg Heinrich Pertz (Hannover, 1846), 189–234, at 200–1. In Appendix 2, I silently expand e with cauda to ae. I am very grateful to Christopher McDonough for his sage comments on this passage and my translation. For commentary, see Sylvian Balau, Étude critique des sources de l'histoire du pays de Liége au moyen age, Mémoires Couronnés et Mémoires des Savants Étrangers Publiés par l'Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, 61 (Brussels, 1902–3), 162–72.

5 See [Paul] de Corswarem, Un receuil [sic] liturgique important: Le liber capitularis d'Etienne, évêque de Tongres-Liége (Tongres, 1924); and Close, ‘L'office de la Trinité d’Étienne’, 631–2.

6 Folcuin of Lobbes, Gesta abbatum Lobiensium 18, ed. Georg Heinrich Pertz, in MGH, Scriptores 4, ed. Georg Heinrich Pertz (Hannover, 1841), 52–74, at 62. See also Balau, Étude critique, 102–14; Joseph Warichez, L'abbaye de Lobbes depuis les origins jusqu'en 1200: Étude d'histoire generale et spéciale, Université de Louvain, Recueil de Travaux Publiés par les Membres des Conférences d'Histoire et de Philologie, 2nd ser., 24 (Tournai and Paris, 1909), 62–8, 251–4; Dierkens, Alain, ‘La production hagiographique à Lobbes au Xe siècle’, Revue Bénédictine, 93 (1983), 245–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 251–7; idem, Abbayes et chapitres entre Sambre et Meuse (VIIe-XIe siècles), Contribution à l'histoire religieuse des campagnes du Haut Moyen Age, Beihefte der Francia 14 (Sigmaringen, 1985), 120–5; and Vanderputten, Steven, ‘“Literate Memory” and Social Reassessment in Tenth-Century Monasticism’, Mediaevistik, 17 (2004), 6594CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 78–94.

7 Reproduced as François Masai and Léon Gilissen, eds., Lectionarium Sancti Lamberti Leodiensis tempore Stephani episcopo paratum (901–920: Codex Bruxellensis 14650–59, Umbrae Codicum Occidentalium 8 (Amsterdam, 1963); on its production during the episcopate of Stephen, see pp. XXIV–XXVIII. Masai and Gilissen characterise it as a lectionary, and lections form its principal contents, but it contains other types of texts, including, of course, a neumed office for Saint Lambert.

8 Codex B-Br 14650–59 contains neither the Trinity Office nor the Office for the Invention of Saint Stephen because it does not cover that portion of the year in which they fall.

9 C. Mohlberg, ‘Spuren eines verlorenen Liturgiebuches: Des “Liber capitularis” Stephans von Tongern († 920)’, in Mélanges d'histoire offerts à Charles Moeller, Recueil de Travaux Publiés par les Membres des Conférences d'Histoire et de Philologie 40–1, 2 vols. (Louvain and Paris, 1914), 1: 350–60, at 357–8.

10 Prologue and uita, B-Br 14650–59 fols. 19r–36v (new foliation); the Office, fols. 37r–39r; quotation, fol. 19r; printed in Vitae Landiberti Traiectensis, 2, Vita Landiberti episcopi Traiectensis auctore Stephano, ed. B. Krusch, in MGH, Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum 6: Passiones vitaeque sanctorum aevi merovingici, ed. B. Krusch and W. Levison (Hannover and Leipzig, 1913), 385–92, at 385. Bishops of this diocese frequently style themselves bishop of Tongres because traditionally it was the capital of the diocese that included Liège; E. de Moreau, ‘Le transfert de la residence des évèques de Tongres à Maestricht’, Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique, 20 (1924), 457–64.

11 B-Br 14650–59 fol. 20r; printed in Vitae Landiberti, 2, Vita Landiberti episcopi Traiectensis auctore Stephano, ed. Krusch, 387.

12 Sigebert of Gembloux, whose two accounts of Stephen's liturgical output largely parallel that of Anselm (duly noted by Bethmann, see following), provides the additional detail that the earlier life, ‘scriptam incultius’ (‘written in a rather uncultivated style’, an echo of Folcuin's ‘impolito digestam stilo’ (‘arranged in an unpolished style’) rather than Anselm's ‘simpliciter’ (‘in a simple style’)), was composed by the cleric Godescalc (Sigebert, Liber de scriptoribus ecclesiasticis 125, in Patrologiae cursus completus: Series latina (hereafter PL) 160, ed. J.-P. Migne (Paris, 1854), cols. 547–88, at col. 573C; see also idem, Chronica ad annum 903, ed. Ludwig Conrad Bethmann, in MGH, Scriptores 6, ed. Georg Heinrich Pertz (Hannover, 1844), 300–74, at 345, where Sigebert does not name Godescalc).

13 Ritva Jonsson, Historia: Études sur la genèse des offices versifiés, Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, Studia Latina Stockholmiensis 15 (Stockholm, 1968), 118. Since the mid-1980s, this author has been publishing under the name Jacobsson. See also Kelly, Thomas Forrest, ‘Medieval Composers of Liturgical Chant’, Musica e Storia, 14 (2006), 95125Google Scholar, at 112, who also believes medieval authors used the term to describe the creation of music. On the Office for Saint Lambert, see also Close, ‘L'office de la Trinité d’Étienne’, 630–1; Saucier, Catherine, ‘The Sweet Sound of Sanctity: Sensing St Lambert’, The Senses and Society, 5 (2010), 1027CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 19; and eadem, A Paradise of Priests, 52–7.

14 Close, ‘L'office de la Trinité d’Étienne’, especially 638–43; and eadem, ‘De l'office de la Trinité pour le diocèse de Liège’. Page, The Christian West and Its Singers, 383–4; and Saucier, A Paradise of Priests, 52, attribute the Trinity Office to Stephen.

15 Anselm, Gesta episcoporum 2.29, ed. Koepke, 205. See also Balau, Étude critique, 149 and n. 3; Godefroid Kurth, Notger de Liège et la civilisation au Xe siècle, 2 vols. (Paris, 1905), 1: 297–8; and Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 77.

16 Vitalis, Orderic, Historia Aeclesiastica 1.24.174, ed. Chibnall, Marjorie, Oxford Medieval Texts, 6 vols. (Oxford, 1969–80), 1: 155–6Google Scholar.

17 Weakland, Rembert, ‘The Compositions of Hucbald’, Études Grégoriennes, 3 (1959), 155–62Google Scholar; Joseph M. A. F. Smits van Waesberghe, ‘Neue Kompositionen des Johannes von Metz (um 975), Hucbalds von St. Amand und Sigeberts von Gembloux?’, in Speculum musicae artis: Festgabe für Heinrich Husmann zum 60. Geburtstag am 16. Dezember 1968, ed. Heinz Becker and Reinhard Gerlach (Munich, 1970), 285–303, at 292–4; Yves Chartier, L'oeuvre musicale musicale d'Hucbald de Saint-Amand: Les compositions et le traité de musique, Cahiers d’Études Médiévales, Cahier spécial 5 (n.p., 1995), 19–42, 344–99; and Barbara Haggh-Huglo, ‘The Model Antiphon Series Primum quaerite in Hucbald's Office In plateis and in Other Post-Carolingian Chant: Theory Meets Practice’, in Music and Culture in the Middle Ages and Beyond: Liturgy, Sources, Symbolism, ed. Benjamin Brand and David J. Rothenberg (Cambridge, 2016), 28–54, at 31–9. On the possible identification of Anselm's Hubald with the music theorist and composer, see Page, The Christian West and Its Singers, 383–4.

18 J.-P. Migne published it as an anonymous work: Micrologus de ecclesiasticis observationibus 60, in PL 151, ed. Migne, cols. 973–1022, at col. 1020A. I expand the expression ‘idem officium’ with ‘of the Holy Trinity’ because the passage falls in the chapter on that subject, as I noted earlier. On the attribution, see M[orin], G[ermain], ‘Que “l'auteur du Micrologue” est Bernold de Constance’, Revue Bénédictine, 8 (1891), 385–95Google Scholar; also Taylor, Daniel S., ‘A New Inventory of Manuscripts of the Micrologus de ecclesiasticis observationibus of Bernold of Constance’, Scriptorium, 52 (1998), 162–91Google Scholar.

19 For example, M. Fabius Quintilianus, Institutio oratoria 9.4.139 and 11.3.59, ed. M. Winterbottom, Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1970), 2: 564 and 665, respectively. Virtually every writer on music in the Latin West, from Saint Augustine and Boethius through to Anselm's period and beyond, uses one or both terms with their technical meaning. See Michael Bernhard, ed., Lexicon musicum latinum medii aevi, s.vv. ‘modulamen’ and ‘modulatio’, On the use of these terms in Carolingian documents, see Grier, James, ‘Adémar de Chabannes, Carolingian Musical Practices, and Nota Romana’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 56 (2003), 4398CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 66–7.

20 For example, Gaius Iulius Caesar, Bellum gallicum 7.73.7, ed. Wolfgang Hering, Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana (Leipzig, 1987), 139; T. Lucretius Carus, De rerum natura 3.202, ed. Joseph Martin, Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana, 5th edn (Leipzig, 1969), 94; and Marcus Tullius Cicero, De finibus bonorum et malorum 4.65, ed. L. D. Reynolds, Scriptorum Classicorum Bibliotheca Oxoniensis (Oxford, 1998), 163.

21 Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 97–8, 104–7 (tables). The constituent texts of GB-Lo Har 2961 are printed at E. S. Dewick and W. H. Frere, eds., The Leofric Collectar (Harl. MS. 2961), Henry Bradshaw Society 45 and 56, 2 vols. (London, 1914–21). Matins is lacking and so it does not appear in Auda's table for that Office in L’école musicale liégeoise, 104–5; see Dewick and Frere, eds., The Leofric Collectar, 1: cols. 187–91. See also Mohlberg, ‘Spuren eines verlorenen Liturgiebuchs’, 353–5; and Corswarem, Un receuil liturgique, 3–6.

22 Le manuscrit du Mont-Renaud, Xe siècle: Graduel et antiphonaire de Noyon, Paléographie Musicale 16 (Solesmes, 1955–6).

23 The five manuscripts from Saint Martial are F-Pnm 1085, 1121, 909, 1254 and 5240. On the date of F-Pnm 1085, see Grier, James, ‘The Divine Office at Saint-Martial in the Early Eleventh Century: Paris, BNF lat. 1085’, in The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages: Methodology and Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography, Written in Honor of Professor Ruth Steiner, ed. Fassler, Margot E. and Baltzer, Rebecca A. (New York, 2000), 179204, at 180CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For an overview of the Trinity Office in them, see Grier, James, ‘Editing the Divine Office’, in Early Music Editing: Principles, Historiography, Future Directions, ed. Dumitrescu, Theodor, Kügle, Karl and van Berchum, Marnix, Collection “Épitome musical” (Turnhout, 2013), 3148Google Scholar, at 44–8.

24 On A-Wn 1888 and 515, and D-Bsbha Frag 63, see Gunilla Björkvall and Andreas Haug, ‘Text und Musik im Trinitätsoffizium Stephans von Lüttich: Beobachtungen und Überlegungen aus mittellateinischer und musikhistoricher Sicht’, in Die Offizien des Mittelalters: Dichtung und Musik, ed. Walter Berschin and David Hiley, Regensburger Studien zur Musikgeschichte, 1 (Tutzing, 1999), 1–24. On Wi 1888 in general, see Henry Parkes, The Making of the Liturgy in the Ottonian Church: Books, Music and Ritual in Mainz, 950–1050, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought, 4th ser., 100 (Cambridge, 2015), 91–132; and Franz Karl Praßl, ‘Muss Hartker Vergleiche fürchten? Zur Notation einer Sammelhandschrift des 10. Jh. aus St. Alban, Mainz, heute Wien, ÖNB codex latinus 1888’, Beiträge zur Gregorianik, 59–60 (2015), 203–19.

25 Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 98. Concerning the date of the Liégeois tradition, Auda states, ‘Notre documentation ne signale aucun livre liturgique liégeois anterieur au XIVe siècle’ (96), and he cites the antiphoner of Sainte-Croix of the fourteenth century, as, presumably, the earliest extant Liégeois source (102, and the tables on 104–7). Close, ‘De l'office de la Trinité pour le diocèse de Liège’, 360, n. 27, identifies this fourteenth-century witness as Liège, Collégiale Sainte-Croix, MS 2 (hereafter Liège 2). Auda also states, however (L’école musicale liégeoise, 97), ‘A défaut d'antiphonaires liégeois antérieurs au XIIIe siècle’, a statement that is technically true, since, if there are no witnesses earlier than the fourteenth, there are equally none earlier than the thirteenth century. Still, he identifies no extant thirteenth-century witness from Liège. Corswarem notes that Liégeois sources that corroborate the connection with GB-Lbl Harley 2961 ‘ne sont que de second ordre’ (Un receuil liturgique, 6).

26 Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 98.

27 On this technique in general, see Michel Huglo, Les tonaires: Inventaire, analyse, comparaison, Publications de la Société Française de Musicologie, ser. 3, 2 (Paris, 1971), 122–8; Hughes, Andrew, ‘Modal Order and Disorder in the Rhymed Office’, Musica Disciplina, 37 (1983), 2951Google Scholar; Möller, Hartmut, ‘Tonartlich geordnete Offizien in den Klöstern des Früh- und Hochmittelalters: Konzept, Komposition, Überlieferung’, in Die Klöster als Pflegestätten von Musik und Kunst: 850 Jahre Michaelstein, ed. Fleischhauer, Günter, Ruf, Wolfgang, Siegmund, Bert and Zschoch, Frieder, Konferenzberichte, Michaelsteiner, 55 (Michaelstein, 1999), 97110Google Scholar; and Goudesenne, Jean-François, ‘Nouvelles perspectives sur le rôle des abbayes de Saint-Amand, de Saint-Thierry de Reims et de l'oeuvre d'Hucbald dans l'ordonnancement régulier des modes dans la composition musicale (850–900)’, Études Grégoriennes, 30 (2002), 127–52Google Scholar. On modal order in the compositions of Stephen, see Huglo, Les tonaires, 126.

28 For the chants, see Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 113–21, and for concordances in CH-SGs 390–91 and other witnesses, the tables at 104–7.

29 B-Br 14650–59, fol. 20r; printed in Vitae Landiberti, 2, Vita Landiberti episcopi Traiectensis auctore Stephano, ed. Krusch, 387.

30 Mohlberg, ‘Spuren eines verlorenen Liturgiebuches’, 357–8 (including list of contents); also remarked by Corswarem, Un receuil liturgique, 13–14.

31 Jonsson, Historia, 117.

32 Sigebert, Chronica ad annum 903, ed. Bethmann, 345. His account is repeated nearly verbatim in Annalista saxo ad annum 900, ed. G. Waitz, in MGH, Scriptores 6, ed. Georg Heinrich Pertz (Hannover, 1844), 542–777, at 590. See also Sigebert, Liber de scriptoribus ecclesiasticis 125, ed. Migne, cols. 573C–574A.

33 Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 47–50; he cites F-Pnm 12584 and 12601, B-Br Fétis II 3827, the antiphoner of Sainte-Croix in Liège, and the antiphoner of Saint Paul in Liège. To these, Jonsson, Historia, 118, adds the tenth-century Arras 650. René-Jean Hesbert, ed., Corpus antiphonalium officii (hereafter CAO), Rerum Ecclesiasticarum Documenta, Series Maior, Fontes 7–12 (Rome, 1963–79), 2: nos. 1026 and 10213, pp. 499–501 and 508–13, respectively, identifies three further manuscripts with the Office, dating between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries: GB-Lbl Addl 30850, F-Pnm 17296 and I-BV 21. The CANTUS index is at

34 Principal feast, F-Pnm 1085, fols. 18r–19v; Invention, fol. 79r–v. See Grier, ‘The Divine Office at Saint-Martial’, 193 and 195.

35 Grier, ‘Editing the Divine Office’, 44.

36 Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 98–100.

37 See Bryden, John R. and Hughes, David G., comps., An Index of Gregorian Chant, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA, 1969), 2: 92–4Google Scholar. Among the antiphons that use this opening are Ecce angelus (Liber responsorialis [Solesmes, 1895], 303), Favus distillans (ibid., 247, 375), Trahe me (ibid., 219), Beatus uir (ibid., 191), Calicem salutaris (Liber usualis, ed. The Benedictines of Solesmes (Tournai and New York, 1952), 956), Ego autem (Liber usualis, 451–2), Sanctimonia (Liber responsorialis, 265), Trahe nos (Liber usualis, 1321) and Vt audiuit (Liber usualis, 1541).

38 Bryden and Hughes, An Index of Gregorian Chant, 2: 120–1; for those that ascend after the initial arch, see 2: 121.

39 Bryden and Hughes, An Index of Gregorian Chant, 2: 223.

40 Frere, ed., AS, 29–32; theme Oa, 29; see also 32: ‘Vade Luciane is a later and clumsier production for the Invention of St. Stephen.’

41 On melodic style in these two Offices, see Björkvall, Gunilla and Haug, Andreas, ‘Performing Latin Verse: Text and Music in Early Versified Offices’, in The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages: Methodology and Source Studies, Regional Developments, Hagiography, Written in Honor of Professor Ruth Steiner, ed. Fassler, Margot E. and Baltzer, Rebecca A. (New York, 2000), 278–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 279–92. On the use of model antiphons in these Offices, see Haggh-Huglo, ‘The Model Antiphon Series Primum quaerite’, 40–1.

42 Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 152–63; and Masai and Gilissen, eds., Lectionarium Sancti Lamberti Leodiensis, XVIII–XX.

43 Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 187–97.

44 On Adémar's contributions to F-Pnm 1121, see Grier, James, ‘The Musical Autographs of Adémar de Chabannes (989–1034)’, Early Music History, 24 (2005), 125–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 134–56; on the Trinity Office, 149–50.

45 Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 193.

46 The Trinity chants are found in F-Pnm 1121, fols. 223v–229r; see also Auda, L’école musicale liégeoise, 113–21; the chant from the Lambert Office is transcribed at 190–1.

47 F-Pnm 1121, fols. 224r and 229r, respectively.