Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Music > 226. Vesperal

226.  Vesperal. Manuscript on paper. Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1766. Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library

Three slim volumes, of an original four, contain the musical compositions for the Divine Office at vespers; the music was so well known that only its opening bars were recorded, since the short cue would be sufficient to the singers. It is possible that this vesperal was produced for use in a church of the Theatine order: their founder, St. Cajetan, is honored here with arrangements for his feast (7 August). The only other unusual saint so fêted is St. Leopold (15 November), who was Markgrave of Austria in the 15th century. Austrian ownership is proven by the elaborate achievement of arms on folio 2 in each of the three volumes: the double-headed displayed eagle, wearing the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, grasping the two swords and orb in his claws, carries emblazoned on his chest the twenty-two coats of arms of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On the same leaf is the signature of one Johann Hermann, qualifying himself as "Music." (for "musicista"?), and the date, 1766. It would have been a worthy accomplishment to have copied out by hand all of these texts and music, and to have done so with such consistent elegance.

Gift of John and Johanna Bass, 1962

Columbia University Libraries / Butler Library / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-7309 /