Journal Article

Musical diplomacy in a divided city: The Lassus-Mayrhofer manuscripts


Gifts of music manuscripts continued to serve an important diplomatic function well into the 16th century. This article investigates the production, content and function of two choirbooks prepared by the Benedictine monk Ambrosius Mayrhofer of St Emmeram in Regensburg, which mainly contain sacred music by Orlande de Lassus. They were dedicated to Abbot Jakob Köplin of St Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg (1568) and the city council of Regensburg (1567) respectively. The programmatic opening motet and accompanying illuminations of the Regensburg choirbook suggest that it functioned as a politically motivated gift that helped to ‘harmonize’ the frictions within a city divided by ancient rights and new religious allegiances: Regensburg was a free imperial city with a predominantly Protestant population and council, but also harboured an episcopal see and several nunneries and monasteries (among them St Emmeram), with the Catholic Dukes of Bavaria as close and powerful neighbours. Mayrhofer’s music manuscript projects a conciliatory message that was particularly timely in the late 1560s, when the permission of Eucharistic communion under both kinds (with consecrated bread and wine) offered a short-lived hope of religious compromise.

Attached files


Eichner, Barbara

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Arts


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-11-22

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Early Music following peer review. The version of record is available online at: doi: 10.1093/em/caz091.

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This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of Musical diplomacy in a divided city: The Lassus-Mayrhofer manuscripts


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