Otfrid von Weißenburg: Gospel Harmony

Otfrid von Weißenburg: Gospel Harmony – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Codex Vindobonensis 2687 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)

Monastery of Weißenburg (France) — 863–871

From the pen of the first Old High German poet known by name and today the largest completely surviving work of Old High German: the famous Bible epic by Rhabanus-Maurus student Otfrid von Weißenburg

  1. Otfrid von Weißenburg (ca. 800 - ca. 870) commissioned one of the most important sources of medieval music

  2. Although bearing the marks of age from six centuries of use, it survives in surprisingly good condition

  3. The poetic texts and musical scores are preceded by a detailed and technical description of the manuscript

Otfrid von Weißenburg: Gospel Harmony

Facsimile Copy Available!
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  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Otfrid von Weißenburg: Gospel Harmony

Being able to study under Rhabanus Maurus (780–856) during the 9th century in Fulda is comparable to a stay in Oxford today. In any case, Otfrid von Weißenburg probably became a member of the court chapel after his stay, before he worked as a scholar in the monastery of Weißenburg in Alsace in the functions of a teacher, librarian, and exegete. It was there that he completed this Gospel Harmony before 871, a text that compiles a unified account of the life and ministry of Jesus from the Four Gospels. What distinguishes it from other texts: Otfrid writes not in Latin, but in Old High German, thus becoming one of the first known German poets; he rhymes the total of 7,106 verses with internal rhymes in what was later named Otfridvers, thus replacing the Germanic Stabreim. Otfrid's hand is still tangible in the Codex Vindobonensis 2687: it is the copy that the magister himself used and corrected.

Otfrid von Weißenburg: Gospel Harmony

Otfrid von Weißenburg´s songbook, the so-called Gospel Harmony was compiled during his lifetime and presumably at his behest. Carefully written and attractively illuminated, the manuscript has been well preserved; and its lines and colors have remained intact despite six centuries of use, yielding an equally clear and bright facsimile. To be sure, the portrait of the author has suffered the ravages of time; therefore, this edition also reproduces a later, yet satisfactory, reconstructed copy.

A Valuable Source on Late Medieval Music

The poetic texts and musical scores are preceded by a detailed and technical history and description of the manuscript by the editor, Francesco Delbono, who performed his task with true thoroughness, scrutinizing the folios painstakingly and noting every peculiarity of the protective cover, binding, format, parchment, ink, initials, script, catalogue numbers, marginal notes, etc. From these and other bits of evidence he has been able to deduce an acceptable history of Ms. A. Now that Ms. B is no longer considered merely a corrected and expanded copy of Ms. A, but a compilation of the same separate texts, it is evident that any further textual study must take Ms. A. into account; and therefore the ardent confraternity of Oswaldians should welcome this handsome addition to the Codices Selecti, as should all students of medieval music.


Alternative Titles
Otfrid von Weißenburg: Evangelienharmonie
Size / Format
388 pages / 25.0 × 21.0 cm
1 full-page colour miniature, 3 coloured pen-and-ink drawings, headings, beginning of the lines and notes in the margin written in red
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Otfrid von Weißenburg: Gospel Harmony – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Codex Vindobonensis 2687 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1972
Facsimile Editions

#1 Otfrid von Weißenburg: Evangelienharmonie

Binding: Cloth binding with leather spine
Commentary: 1 volume (46 pages) by Hans Butzmann
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €
(under 1,000€)
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