Sacred Italian music in the North: Music at Nykøbing Castle in the 1640s

The son of Christian IV, prince-elect Christian (1603–1647), resided at the Nykøbing Castle, where he was preparing for taking over the reign after his farther. This, however, never happened because of his untimely death in 1647. During his preparations he did accomplish in building a court, which according to the customs for protestant princes of that time also comprised a musical chapel.

An extensive manuscript written by the organist of the prince, Matthias Weckmann, is now kept in Lüneburg. It documents what kind of music he got to know during his stay in Nykøbing 1643–1647. Accordingly, it is a unique source of the repertoire at the castle in the 1640s. The manuscript contains 75 sacred works of vocal music by 17 composers, among them ten Italians. The project focuses on the Italian music.

The result of the project will be a critical edition shaped as an anthology with selected works from the manuscript, for instance unique works by Agostino Fontana, Giovanni Valentini, and Lorenzo Agnelli. Also works by Claudio Monteverdi and Tarquinio Merula already known from other sources will be included. The reason for this is that Weckmann’s manuscript often varies from the sources that he copied from. In that way the manuscript is a document of music historical importance, since it provides us with impressions of how musicians at the princely court appropriated the Italian music at a location distant from its southern origin. The history of the manuscript will be further described in the introduction to the edition.

Member of staff: Bjarke Moe