Louis II of Anjou and Mod A?

I’ve just had my first fully online, open access journal article published. It’s not the first time my research has been published online, but my previous articles were dual-mode published in print and online. And, in a strange twist that is indicative of the state of medieval musicology in Australia, this is my first article published in this country: all others have appeared in journals published in the United Kingdom, United States and Europe. Anyway, enough of that.

The article, entitled “The Angevin Struggle for the Kingdom of Naples (c.1378–1411) and Politics of Repertoire in Mod A: New Hypotheses” is the second instalment in my exploration (revisions) of the origins and influences in the copy of the famous music manuscript, Modena, Biblioteca Estense, MS. α.M.5.24 (Mod A). I propose several new readings of some remarkable examples of polyphonic songs from around the year 1400, and how they might reflect the influence of the important figure in Franco-Italian politics, Louis II of Anjou (1377–1417). Building on my earlier article discussing the origins of Mod A, I propose that several songs betray the influence of this prince of France and one-time king of the mainland portion of the Kingdom of Sicily (sometimes called the Kingdom of Naples). One of the results of this article (and the new editions therein) I hope will occur is greater interest in some of the songs I’ve discussed in detail. As far as I know, En un vergierFranchois sunt nobles and C’est le douce jour have not been recorded to date. There is certainly an action-packed program of oft neglected music deserving more attention connected (or connectable to) Louis II of Anjou (and his dad). Here’s the abstract and the full version can be read and/or downloaded for free at the Journal of Music Research Online.

The inner gatherings of the music manuscript Modena, Biblioteca Estense, MS. α.M.5.24 (Mod AII-IV) contain a tangle of politically-charged songs, mostly in French, referring to the tumultuous Great Schism of the Western Church (1378–1417) and the prowess of several princes of ascendant Italian states during the same period. Some scholars have connected the repertoire of Mod AII-IV with Pétros Fílargos, sometime Archbishop of Milan and then the short-lived conciliar pope Alexander V. Yet art-historical evidence now strongly suggests that Mod AII-IV was completed during the pontificate of Alexander’s successor, John XXIII, between September 1410 and March 1411 in Bologna. During the first two years of John’s pontificate the influential and wealthy prince of France, Louis II of Anjou, prosecuted his claim for title of the Kingdom of Naples in Italy, simultaneously supporting John XXIII’s military campaign to reclaim Rome. This article explores a new hypothesis that part of the repertoire of Mod AII-IV—and possibly the manuscript’s very structure—reflects the presence of the Angevin prince at the court of John XXIII in Bologna in the second half of 1410. It considers how other political threads running through this manuscript render it an unlikely candidate for a source connected with the pro-Visconti Alexander V.

Feedback, comments always welcome.

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