Miracles of Sant'Iago / Anonymous 4
Music from the Codex Calixtinus

Harmonia Mundi HMU 90 7156

2008: Miracles of Compostela
Harmonia Mundi "Gold" 507156

1. Invitatory. Venite omnes cristicole  [1:16]   cc  25
[a beato calixto papa edita]

2. Processional. Salve festa dies  [4:38]   cc  70
versus calixti pape cantandi a processionem sancti iacobi in solempnitate passionis ipsus et transalacionis eiusdem

3. Benedicamus trope. Vox nostra resonet  [1:41]   cc  102
magister iohannes legalis

4. Invitatory. Regem regum dominum  [0:50]   cc  1
a domno papa calixto ex evangelis edita

5. Benedicamus trope. Nostra phalanx plaudat leta  [2:26]   cc  95
ato episcopus trecensis

6. Antiphon. Ad sepulcrum beati Iacobi  [2:13]   cc  16
ad vesperas, verba calixti

7. Benedicamus trope. Ad superni regis decus  [3:05]   cc  98
magister albericus archiepiscopus bituricensis

8. Brief responsory. Iacobe servorum  [2:13]   cc  60

9. Benedicamus domino  [1:54]   cc  112
magister gauterius de castello rainardi

10. Conductus. In hac die laudes  [4:29]   cc  82
conductum sancti iacobi a domno fulberto karnotensi episcopo editum

11. Kyrie trope. Cunctipotens genitor  [5:14]   cc  111
gauterius prefatus
Chant form Bibliotèque nationale, Paris, ms. Lat 1112, with cadence formulas modified to match those of the polyphonic setting in Jacobus

12. Hymn. Psallat chorus celestium  [1:10]   cc  2
hymnus s iacobi a domno fulberto karnotensi episcopo editus

13. Prosa. Alleluia. Gratulemur et letemur  [6:27]   cc  76
prosa sancti iacobi latinis, grecies et ebraicis verbis, a domno papa calixto abbreviata

14. Offertory. Ascendens Ihesus in montem  [3:48]   cc  77

15. Agnus dei trope. Qui pius ac mitis  [2:24]   cc  93
agnus fulberti episcopi karnotensis

16. Benedicamus trope. Gratulantes celebremus festum  [2:47]   cc  97
magister goslenus episcopus suessionis

17. Conductus. Iacobe sancte tuum  [5:01]   cc  80
conductum sancti iacobi ab antiquo episcopo boneventino editum

18. Responsory. O adiutor omnium seculorum  [8:36]   cc  106
magister ato episcopus trecensis
quidam antistes a iherosolimis rediens, ereptus per beatum iacobum a marinis pericul, in primo tono edidit hunc responsorium

19. Prosa. Portum in ultimo  [2:42]   cc  107
prosa idem ato

20. Benedicamus trope. Congaudeant catholici  [3:38]   cc  96
magister albertus parisiensis

21. Prosa. Clemens servulorum  [4:49]   cc  78
prosa s iacobi crebro cantanda a domno guilelmo patriarcha iheroslimitano edita


Ruth Cunningham
Marsha Genensky
Susan Hellauer
Johanna Maria Rose

harmonia mundi usa (P C) 1995
Recording: July 25-28, September 20-22,1995, Campion Center, Boston, MA
Producer: Robina G. Young
Engineer: Brad Michel
Editing: Paul F. Witt

· Cover recto: Detail, showing St. James, of twelfth-century frontal in the Museo Catedralicio, Orense, Spain;
photograph by Juan Manuel Moretón Brasa
· Cover verso: Fourteenth-century panel painting by anonymous Catalan-Aragonese artist,
“Translation of the Body of Sant'Iago” courtesy of Prado, Madrid, Spain
· Three illuminated letters from the Codex Calixtinus reproduced from
José López-Calo, S.J., La música medieval en Galicia
(La Coruña, 1982); photographs by Constantino Martínez
· Codex Calixtinus, fol. 185 recto: Nostra phalanx & Congaudeant catholici
(Reproduced from the facsimile edition published by Fotojae and the Centro de Estudios del Camino de Santiago;
photograph by courtesy of UCLA Music Library)
· Forster Book of Hours: Donor with St. James as Pilgrim (c. 1500)
(Courtesy of Victoria & Albert Musem and e.t. archive)

Photo Anonymous 4: Christian Steiner
Booklet design: Steven Lindberg

[After James was martyred in Jerusalem]   His disciples spirited away his body and … his head, placed his earthly remains in a boat, and set sail from Jaffa. In only seven days the ship, propelled miraculously by wind and waves, arrived at the coast of Galicia. As the ship neared the land, a horseman, riding beside the sea, was carried by his bolting horse into the waves, but instead of drowning, horse and rider came to the surface covered with scallop shells. Henceforth, the scallop shell became the symbol of St. James and the badge of the pilgrim to his shrine.

— Marilyn Stokstad, Santiago de Compostela: In the Age of the Great Pilgrimages
Copyright copy 1978 by the University of Oklahoma Press

During the Middle Ages, three holy places — Jerusalem, Rome, and Compostela, a remote Galician village in northwestern Spain — were visited by countless pilgrims from all over Europe, often in fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Compostela was the legendary burial place of St. James the Greater, Jacobus Major, the first apostle, and the first to die a martyr. For medieval Spain, under Moslem siege, St. James became a heavenly champion and symbol of the Christian Reconquista. His power as a miracle worker was renowned, and visitors to his tomb sought both physical and spiritual healing, as they do to this day.

Since the late twelfth century the Cathedral of Santiago in Compostela has possessed a manuscript entitled Jacobus (and also called Liber Sancti Jacobi or Codex Calixtinus). Its five books contain sermons on St. James, chants and lessons for his feasts, accounts of his miracles and legends, an epic tale of Charlemagne in Spain, an informative travel guide to the pilgrimage routes through France and Spain, and a contemporary “supplement” of polyphonic music. How it found its way to Compostela is not known for certain, but it is undoubtedly a French product, probably compiled or written in Cluny around 1150. Although its author was obviously erudite, Jacobus contains many ridiculous errors in grammar, rhetoric, and dogma, which scholars have tried for centuries to rationalize. It has recently been shown that the non-musical portions containing these errors were actually texts to be corrected by French  schoolboys as Latin exercises, and that the music (which is not defective) was meant to be sung by the boys on feasts of St. James.*

About ninety percent of the music in Jacobus is plainchant for the Vigil and Feast of St. James (25 July) and for the Translation of his body from Palestine to Galicia (30 December). Most of it is specifically liturgical: hymns, antiphons, responsories, and versicles for the Divine Office and Mass propers and ordinaries. Many, if not most, of these were contrafacts (i.e., adapted from existing chants), such as the invitatory antiphons Venite omnes and Regem regum, the processional hymn Salve festa dies, and the antiphon Ad sepulcrum beati Iacobi. Other chants, like Agnus dei: Qui pius ac mitis, were expanded, or “troped” with additional text and music, and it was perhaps as an educational gesture that Greek, Hebrew, and Galician words were added to the ancient double-versicle “prosa” Alleluia: Gratulemur et letemur.

Although they represent a mere ten percent of the music in Jacobus, the polyphonic works (nineteen for two voices, one for three voices) have received more attention from scholars than the plainchant has because they are among the earliest such pieces to have been written down. Some, like the conductus In hac die and Jacobe sancte tuum, are not strictly liturgical, but are perhaps meant to accompany a reader’s walk to the lectern. Several others are settings or tropes of the Benedicamus domino, a closing formula of the Office and Solemn Mass, such as Vox nostra resonet, Nostra phalanx, Ad superni regis, Gratulantes celebremus, and Congaudeant catholici. This last piece was originally notated in two voices, with a third voice added in a different hand — making it one of the earliest surviving three-voice pieces. Because this third voice creates many dissonances, some scholars say that only two voice parts should be sung at a time. We think, however, that it makes a very satisfying three-voice piece, just daring enough for an “avant-garde” work of its time.

Most of the musical works in Jacobus are attributed in the manuscript to specific (usually French) authors — clerics and other notables, some famous and others  unknown. Until recently it was thought that these attributions were fanciful, but research has verified many of them. For plainchant works based on existing melodies, these authors probably wrote new texts, often drawn from St. James’s copious miracle literature rather than from scripture. For polyphonic works, these authors may have been responsible for the music and text, or for the music alone. The greatest number of polyphonic settings by a single composer, including the monumental responsory O adiutor and its trope Portum in ultimo, are those of Bishop Ato of Troyes, who retired to Cluny in 1145 — just about the time when Jacobus was  assembled.

There are two distinct textures for the polyphonic works: a “discant” style, in which the two voice parts generally move together (as in the conductus and the Benedicamus tropes), and an “organal” style in which the upper voice part sings a rhapsodic melody against the long-held notes of a lower tenor voice based on a liturgical chant (as in O adiutor and the troped Kyrie: Cunctipotens). The plainchants most commonly set in this way are the soloists’ portions of the Gradual and Alleluia of the Mass, and the Matins Responsory of the Divine Office. In hindsight, it is possible to see this style, with its relatively simple textures and limited liturgical repertoire, as a primitive precursor of more sophisticated developments to come. But the polyphonic compositions that survive in Jacobus are representatives of a highly developed musical language. Just about a generation after the appearance of Jacobus, the  basic elements of this language — its vocal textures and its repertoire — came together again in the first Notre Dame school of sacred polyphony, led by Leoninus.

The notation in Jacobus is ambiguous as to rhythm and meter, as well as to alignment of pitches between the voice parts in the polyphony. Scholars have proposed a variety of rhythmic solutions for the polyphony and the non-liturgical songs, ranging from an unmeasured chant-like style to strictly regular “modal” rhythm. Instead of adhering to any previously existing theory, we have come to our rhythmic interpretations by considering not only melodic, harmonic, and notational patterns, but also the nature and poetic structure of the texts themselves. In imitation of contemporary instrumental practice, we have occasionally added vocal drones as well. As our guiding principle we have tried to be true to the infectiously joyful and exuberant melody that pervades this remarkable collection, made for and performed by the young treble voices of a medieval French grammar school.

— Susan Hellauer

* Christopher Hohler, “A Note on Jacobus”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, XXXV (1972), pp. 31-80.