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Precious musical manuscript stolen from Santiago de Compostela


the newsletter of the Society of Antiquaries in London, reports that the 12th-century Codex Calixtinus has been stolen from the armoured vault of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Authorship of the Codex Calixtinus was once attributed to Pope Calixtus II (died 1124), hence its name, though it is now believed to be the work of several authors and compilers, including Aymeric Picaud, one-time Secretary to Pope Calixtus, who may have contributed the Liber Peregrinationis, a guide for pilgrims following the Way of St James, describing the towns they will encounter, the people and their customs.


The illustrated manuscript also contains some of the earliest recorded examples of Basque vocabulary, liturgical texts and homilies for the liturgy of St James, the story of how St James’s body was smuggled from Palestine to Compostela and a history of Charlemagne and Roland. It is also of great value to historians of music composition in the 12th century, containing numerous examples of plainsong chant associated with the liturgy of St James, and three examples of polyphonic work for three voices.

You can hear two versions of the earliest known example of a three-voice chant, “Con gaudeant catholici, letentur cives celici (Let the whole church rejoice, let the heavenly host be glad)” for the liturgy of St James from the manuscript on ChantBlog.

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