The Lucca Choirbook
Lucca, Archivio di Stato, MS 238; Lucca, Archivio Arcivescovile, MS 97; Pisa, Archivo Arcivescovile, Biblioteca Maffi, Cartella 11/III
More than forty years ago in the state archives of Lucca, Italy, musicologist Reinhard Strohm noticed that bindings on some of the books were unusual: they consisted of the pages of a centuries-old music manuscript. In the following years, Strohm worked with the archivists to remove these leaves and reassemble as much as possible of the original manuscript, a major cultural recovery now known as The Lucca Choirbook.
The recovered volume comprises what remains of a gigantic cathedral codex commissioned in Bruges around 1463 and containing English, Franco-Flemish, and Italian sacred music of the fifteenth century—including works by the celebrated composers Guillaume Du Fay and Henricus Isaac.
This facsimile of the choirbook includes all the known leaves, ordered according to their proper placement in the original codex. In the introduction, Strohm tells the fascinating story of this choirbook, identifying its early users and reconstructing its travel from Bruges to Lucca.
I. Archivists and Musicologists
II. General Description
III. From Choirbook to Archive—and Halfway Back
IV. The Manuscript
V. The Music
VI. The Early Uses and the Origins of the Lucca Choirbook