site_logo M f t R

Masses from the Renaissance:

Look and Listen

JenaU 4

JenaU 4: Jena, Thüringer Universitäts - und Landesbibliothek, MS 4.


Size: 785 x 550 117 parchment folios, no index, modern pencil foliation, a blank folio separates each item other than between items 1 and 2 - first (1r) and last (117v) folios also blank; the largest in dimensions and heaviest (approx. 25 kilos) of the extant Alamire workshop manuscripts.

Scribe: Alamire workshop copyists, bastarde text hand.

Place and Brief History: Brussels/Mechelen; possibly commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor (Maximilian I) for the Tudor Monarch (Henry VIII); if so the manuscript never went to England (unlike the mainly motet manuscript LonBLR 8 G. vii) but rather became part of the collection owned by the Elector of Saxony (Frederick the Wise).

Date: between 1513 to 1518.

Covers and Decoration: Partially restored covers of dark brown leather pasted on boards, blind-tooled diamond-shaped pattern, metal lock (same as the lock for MechAS s.s.), clasps, buckle and corners. Gloriously illuminated with miniatures and other decorations as follows:

f. 8v - upper left: Queen of Heaven (Mary) on crescent moon with Child, crowned by two angels; Ghent-Bruges style boarder extending right, across top of folio; letters HHH and T included in flowers;

f. 9r - upper left: Maximilian I as donor being presented by angel (possibly the arch-angel Michael) holding shield with the double-headed eagle, on the canopy above Maximilian's motto: Halt mas in allen dingen; archducal crown at Maximilian's knees; Ghent-Bruges style boarder extending right, across top of folio;

f. 9r - lower left: Holy Roman Emperor's coat-of-arms - royal crown surmounting the double-headed eagle with Maximilian's motto Halt mas in allen dingen;

f. 15v - upper left: The Resurrection; boarder extending across top of folio; motifs of flowers, birds and butterflies extending down right-hand side and across bottom; letters HHH included in flowers;

f. 15v - centre left: coat-of-arms of Austria;

f. 15v - lower left: coat-of-arms of New Burgundy;

f. 16r - upper left: Archduke Charles (to become Charles V) as donor; presented by St Charles the Great; across top 2 banners, down right hand side 5 banners, across bottom 3 banners collectively representing Habsburg territories;

f. 16r - lower left: imperial arms of Burgundy-Habsburg;

f. 29v - upper left: Mary and Eve with tree of knowledge and vine of life; Burgundian coat-of-arms; Frederick III and Maximilian as donors in foreground; banners extending across top of folio;

f. 29v - centre left: portrait of John Duns Scotus with Immaculate Conception of the Virgin texts;

f. 29v - lower left: portrait of Pope Nicholas IV; motifs of flowers with a butterfly, snail and worm across bottom of folio; also extending down right-hand margin further flowers with a bird and a snail;

f. 30r - across top: miniatures of Popes Alexander V, Innocent V and Sixtus IV with accompanying Immaculate Conception of the Virgin texts

f. 30r - upper left: Henry VIII as donor, royal crown at Henry's feet presented by St George;

f. 30r - centre left: Catherine of Aragon, as donor, crowned, presented by St Catherine; Aragon-Castile coat-of-arms;

lf. 30r - bottom left: coat-of-arms of England with griffin and greyhound supporting on left and right hands respectively, combined rose and pomegranate motifs below;

f. 42v - upper left: The Virgin surrounded by The Seven Sorrows; banners extending downwards on left and across top;

f. 43r - upper left: Ferdinand of Austria as donor, presented by St Anthony of Padua, with coat-of arms of Austria and archducal crown;

f. 43r - centre left: Ferdinand's sisters Eleanor and Isabella as donors presented by Saints Livinus and Elizabeth;

f. 43r - lower left: Ferdinand's sisters Mary and Catherine as donors presented by the Virgin and Child and St Catherine;

painted initials with adornments and grotesques on folios 54v, 55r, 66v, 67r, 77v, 78r, 90v, 91r, 102v, and 103r; inked calligraphic initials for remainder of folios opening with a section or subsection.


Charles Hamm & Herbert Kellman (eds), Census-Catalogue of Manuscript Sources of Polyphonic Music 1400-1550, Renaissance Manuscript Studies I, vol. I, American Institute of Musicology, Hänssler-Verlag, Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1979, pp. 289-290.

Eric Jas and Herbert Kellman, "Jena, Thüringer Universitäts - und Landesbibliothek, MS 4", in Herbert Kellman (ed.), The Treasury of Petrus Alamire: Music and Arts in Flemish Court Manuscripts, 1500-1535, The University of Chicago Press, 2000, pp. 90-91.



Patrem sex vocum ad placitum
[Kyrie]: Pascale quinque uocum. (Ad longum.)
MISSA DE BEATA VIRGINE. SEX VOCVM. [= Missa Ave sanctissima maria]
[Petrus de la Rue]
Missa Resurrexi [= Missa Pascale]
[Petrus de la Rue]
Missa Conceptio tua
Missa de septem doloribus beate marie virginis.
Petrus de la Rue.
Missa quinque vocum [Ista est speciosa]
Missa de feria quinque vocum
Missa loseraige dire.
Missa quinque vocum supra incessament.
Missa quinque vocum supra baise moy.
[Credo]: De sancto iohanne evvangelista.

+ indicates composer deceased at time of copying

Folio information and variants:

ff. 1v-7r: look (5 pages)

ff. 8v-14r & 42v-53r look (12 pages)

ff. 65v-117r look (28 pages)

[back to Sources list]