Egida Sartori and Laura Alvini//Early Music Seminars

plus May, 2026 2011

Plainchant and Ars subtilior in the Latin East 1370-1430

This year’s seminar will focus on Cypriot polyphonic and monophonic repertories from 1370 to 1430, and especially those found in three manuscript sources, now in Paris and Turin. The fi rst two are the primary sources of the Fons hortorum, a rhymed office probably composed by Rostagnus of Cyprus in around 1370, and “imported” first to Venice and then to Avignon and Paris over the following few years. The music for the Fons hortorum is characterised by neo-Hildegardian infl uences and polished workmanship.
The third manuscript (BNU J.II.9, Turin) contains two more monodic rhymed offices – for St Hilary, the patron saint of Cyprus and St Anne – and three monumental sections of polyphonic music. The first two are devoted to French and Latin polyphonic masses and motets, while the third consists of chansons in the late Gothic style of Ars subtilior.
The textual iconography of the pieces have confirmed the endemic Cypriot origin of the repertory, of which we only know of one manuscript concordance in the whole of Europe.

Stylistically, the compositions are based on the art of the French court at the time but there are also crucial Italian influences both in the contrapuntal structure and in the notation and virtuoso embellishments of the higher voices. The combination of repertories found in the Turin manuscript is thus quite unique on the late mediaeval European scene.
The seminar will set out to compare various repertories – Neo-Gregorian, polyphonic masses and motets and chansons in the style of Ars subtilior – in search of the cultural infl uences to which Cyprus was known to have been subject in the period in question.

The participants include leading experts on Gregorian chant and Ars Nova, such as Barbara Haggh, Margaret Bent, Isabelle Ragnard and Karl Kügle.