Carmina Burana + Fragmenta Burana

Clm 4660 + Clm 4660a - Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)

Alternate Titles:

Carmina Burana aus Benediktbeuren

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Carmina Burana aus Benediktbeuren

Type
Extent / Format

238 pages / 25.5 x 18.0 cm

Origin
Date
Around 1230-14th century
Style
Genre
Language
Artist / School

Auhtors: Walther von der Vogelweide (1170 - 1230), Otto von Botenlauben or Botenlouben (1177 - 1245) and others

Former owners

Benediktbeuern Abbey

Short description

The manuscript of the Carmina Burana is a unique testimonial to the literature and music of the Middle Ages. In a spectacular find, Johann Christoph von Aretin discovered this manuscript in Benediktbeuern Abbey during the course of Secularization. The manuscript, which was begun in the 13th century and was continued until the second half of the 14th century, contains a true treasure: 318 texts, which only survive here for the most part, of lyrics, songs, and dramas by the most important poets of their time! As an additional idiosyncrasy, the texts of this famous song manuscript are illustrated with wonderful miniatures. The famous Beurer Songs, an all-around exceptional manuscript!

Facsimile editions available

Description

Carmina Burana + Fragmenta Burana

The manuscript of the Carmina Burana is a unique testimonial to the literature and music of the Middle Ages. In a spectacular find, Johann Christoph von Aretin discovered this manuscript in Benediktbeuern Abbey during the course of Secularization. The manuscript, which was begun in the 13th century and was continued until the second half of the 14th century, contains a true treasure: 318 texts, which only survive here for the most part, of lyrics, songs, and dramas by the most important poets of their time! As an additional idiosyncrasy, the texts of this famous song manuscript are illustrated with wonderful miniatures. The famous Beurer Songs, an all-around exceptional manuscript!

The Famous Beurer Songs

Just about everyone can recall the monumental sounds with which Carl Orff reset the Carmina Burana to music in 1935/6. The Beurer Songs, better known under the Latin term Carmina Burana, are counted among mankind’s cultural heritage. Yet, they were lost until the early 19th century. The unique manuscript first reappeared in the course of secularization: by means of the 1803 discovery by Johann Chrsitoph von Aretin in the library of the Benediktbeuern Abbey.

A Song Manuscript from the Alps

Having said this, the Upper-Bavarian Benediktbeuern Abbey is not the song manuscript’s point of origin. The Carmina Burana presumably came from Carinthia, Styria, or modern South Tirol. The manuscript was begun around 1230, but was continuously appended through the second half of the 14th century. Aside from the literary-musical text, the illustrations accompanying the text are also unique. Such wonderful pictorial décor is extremely unusual for a song manuscript. Depictions both small and large, some even full-page, show e.g. various board games (backgammon, chess, etc.), but also biblical and historical events. The marvelous miniature of the wheel of fortune in a circular depiction is also well-known.

Unique Testimonies of the Music and Literature of the Middle Ages

Yet, the real treasure of the manuscript lays in its textual content, which also lends it its name, the Beurer Songs. This “unique anthology of musical and dramatic texts from the 11th and 12th centuries” contains the most important collection of medieval itinerant music. Alongside Latin secular lyrics, the Middle High German lyrics of the early 13th century are represented in moralizing-satirical poems, love songs, drinking songs, playful songs, and sacred plays. The 318 texts altogether, which have largely survived, even though they have been transmitted anonymously, can nonetheless be ascribed to a few famous poets. Some famous names are represented, here with Walther von der Vogelweide, Otto von Botenlauben, and Neidhardt among them.

A Gem of the Bavarian State Library

The Carmina Burana have only survived in a single manuscript, additionally, a fragment has been preserved. Both manuscripts are stored today under the shelf marks Clm 4660 and Clm 4660a in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. The famous manuscript of the Beurer Lieder allows the beholder to immerse themselves into the world of the Middle Ages and its great poets.

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