Medieval chant for Swedish saints

© Ann-Marie Nilsson(2011), Uppsala University, Sweden

Chants for St. Nicolaus Hermanni, episcopus Lincopensis, Christo sit pia laus

In 1499, eight decades after a canonisation process in 1417, the pope gave admission to
enshrinement of the relics of Nils Hermansson (Nicolaus Hermanni), bishop of Linköping
1375-1391, who is said to have been the author of historie for saints Birgitta of Sweden,
Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, and Ansgar, “apostle of the North”; probably also of the
late additions (two nocturns) to the historia for St. Erik. The translation took place in
Linköping in 1515, and Nils Hermansson’s day was the first Sunday in May. As late as 1523,
his mass and office were printed in Söderköping. The text of his office Christo sit pia laus is
edited in Analecta hymnica (vol. 28, nr. 30, p. 85).

Only one source with notation of this office is known: a handwritten sanctorale from Östra
Eneby church in Östergötland, known as Liber ecclesie Enebyensis, now in Musik- och
(The Music and Theatre Library), Stockholm (Liturgik Rar.; fol. 30v-34r.).
Like in some other early sixteenth-century sources, the verses of the responsories are omitted.
At places, the text underlay is dubious and clefs carelessly written, which can make it
difficult to decide the scribe’s intention.

In his poetry, the anonymous author has aimed at Leonine hexameters, Goliard strophes (2 x
(7pp + 6p).) and – in the responsories – Goliard strophes cum auctoritate, the same strophic
form as the responsories that earlier used to be ascribed to bishop Brynolf Algotsson (cf.
Ann-Marie Nilsson: Sånger till fyra kyrkofester i Skara stift, 2011: Summary, p. 204).

No regular modal order is observed. The antiphons for Matins are in modes 111,222,333.

A number of melodies seem to have been adapted from earlier Swedish saints’ offices, a few,
suitable enough, from Nils’ hystoria for St. Birgitta, Rosa rorans bonitatem. Some examples
below will show such adaptations.

The material was studied by Ann-Marie Nilsson during a research project ”Medieval chant
for Swedish saints”, financed (2006-2008) by the Swedish Research Council.

Remarks to variant tables contains general remarks on the notation in the sources and
the comparative tables as well as abbreviations.

The chants

VA1, Christo sit pia laus

VA2, Festa placent

VA3, Nos tegat a pravo

VA4, Per venie clavum

VA5, Filiolos Abrahe

VE, Celice confessor

Minv, In meritis vite

MA1, Novum vas charismatum

MA1 Novum, cf. Elin MA1

MA2, Tener gades trivii

MA2 Tener, cf. Eskil MA1

MA3, Relucens hinc omnium

MA3 Relucens, cf. Elin LA1, Eskil MA9

R1, Letetur Ostgotia/[Quem vox]

R2, In ausos nefarios /[Est passus]

R3, Nectar eloquentie/[Ne ruat]

MA4, Aaron sacerdotio

MA5, Hester fert clementiam

MA6, Virtutum moralium

R4, Carnis petulantie/[Moxque]

R4 Carnis, cf. Patronorum regni R4

R5, Opem leso stomacho/[Ex sancti]

R6, Pastor decus persulum/[Auferat]

MA7, Carne virgo nitidus

MA7 Carne cf. Eskil MA3

MA8, Gratis datam gratiam

MA8 Gratis, cf. Birgitta (off. Nicolai H) MA4

MA9, Actibus ierarchicis

R7, Eventus prophetico/[Inventos]

R8, Nox dies ops/[Quam felix]

R9, Sidus poli nobile/[Perducas]

R9 Sidus, cf. Birgitte (off. Nicolai H) R2

LA1, Nilus ut irrorat

LA2, Compages tumulo

LA3, Languens pupilla

LA4, Ustus et elinguis

LA5, In te sponsa deum

LE, Benedictus Dominus

WE, Salve sidus aureum