The Medieval Anti-Ottoman Combat and Its Emblematic Figure Saint Ioannes da Capistrano in Late Transylvanian Franciscan Plainchant
Manuscript I. 3. (98 folios) kept in the Batthyaneum Library in Alba Iulia (Romania), dated 1730, was made for the Franciscan convent of Vințu de Jos, Transylvania. It comprises some mass proprium and a few officium pieces. Its sanctorale contains only Franciscan feasts, among which St. Ioannes da Capistrano (sanctified in 1724), praised by two melodies with the same text: an Alleluia and a canticum antiphon. The cult of Capistrano, called here as exterminator turcarum, can be related to the topic of Missa contra paganos, which is documented in Transylvanian plainchant in the 16th century. According to the research available to date, the text and the very late melodic contrafacta in honor of Capistrano seem to be unique in the Central-European plainchant repertoire.
After the Turkish wars in 1718 the Banat-Swabians had the greatest impact on the music of the Roman Catholic Church of the Banat. During the first decades of the 18th century German musicians and instrument makers, mostly from Bohemia, settled down in the Banat. Banat’s church music had been on the same high standards as in other regions of Central Europe. Important musicians as Joseph Kratochwill, Franz Limmer, Moritz Pfeiffer, Martin Nováček, Desiderius Járosy, and Desiderius Braun contributed their work not only in the rural areas but also at the Cathedral (Der Dom) of Timișoara until the end of World War II. Among them, Kratochwill and Limmer were composers whose works were also published in Vienna. Járosy and Braun were musicologists whose works were released in several languages.
The organ is one of the most complex and expensive instruments. In the pre-industrial era, organs were made mostly by local craftsmen. This is why so-called organ landscapes have distinctive regional identities. The present article presents the Transylvanian organ landscape with its particular features, referring especially to influences between the Transylvanian Saxon and the Szekler organ building traditions. Recent research done in Reformed and Unitarian churches and archives has generated some interesting data about the activity of several organ builders. By merging these novelties with already published material, the article aims to offer an updated perspective on life and work of several 19th century organ builders, namely Thomas Boltres, Dávid Serester, Martin Schwab, Sámuel Szőcs, Mózes Balázs, Andreas Eitel and Petrus Gottlieb Schneider. The article finishes by granting an outlook on future research, a brief review over the present condition of the instruments as well as information about contemporary local organ builder’s activities regarding the construction of new instruments.
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