The Historic Library & Rare Book Collection at Sherborne School includes a set of late sixteenth-century vocal works.  These consist of six separate publications, bound together into six volumes, one volume for each of the voice parts required by the various works: Cantus or Treble, Altus, Tenor, Bassus, Quinta Vox (sometimes a second Alto, sometimes a second Tenor) and Sexta Vox, in either of the preceding registers as occasion requires.  The first three volumes being sacred and devout and the other three volumes being secular and frivolous.

When a composition is in more than six parts one volume may contain two or more; so that to arrive at the complete work, which in every instance is purely vocal, one has to transcribe the parts in score.  When they appeared the art of printing music in moveable type was young, and printing in score, that is, with all the parts of a work one above the other on the same page, had not yet come into use.  Each of these parts was intended for two or more singers to sing from at the same time, consequently the print had to be large and distinct.

Bound in vellum and lettered ‘ORLANDO LASSUS’.  The binding is possibly a nineteenth-century addition.

The volumes were acquired by Sherborne School between 1750 and 1807.

    • Orlando di  Lasso (1532-1594)
      Selectissimae Cantiones, Quas Vulgo Motetas Vocant, Partimomnino Novae, Partim Nusquam In Germania Excusae, Sex & Pluribus Vocibus Compositae, Per Excellentissimum Musicum.  Omnia denuo multo quam antehac correctius edita.

      Printed in Nuremburg at the printing office of Catharine Gerlach, 1587.
      Sacred Latin text.
      Inscribed on the title page: ‘E. Lambert’.
      [‘The choicest songs, commonly called motets, partly quite new, partly never till now printed in Germany. Composed in six and more parts by that most excellent musician Orlandus de Lassus’.  Contains 77 compositions, the last one being in ten parts.  Although earlier editions are known (the first in 1568) this is the only complete copy of the 1587 edition in Britain.  An imperfect copy is in the British Library.  Copies exist in eleven European libraries]
    • Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594)
      Selectissimae Cantiones, Quas Vulgo Motetas Vocant, Partimomnino Novae, Partim Nusquam In Germania Excusae, Sex & Pluribus Vocibus Compositae, Per Excellentissimum Musicum.  Omnia denuo multo quam antehac correctius edita.

      Printed in Nuremburg at the printing office of Catharine Gerlach, 1587.
      Sacred Latin text, except for the last, which is an address to a lady named Anna.
      [A second volume of the same work.  Contains 71 compositions. Only one other complete copy of this edition in the British Library.  Nine copies exist in Europe]
    • Orlando di  Lasso (1532-1594) & Ferdinando di Lasso (1560-1609)
      Selectissimae Cantiones, Quas Vulgo Motetas Vocant, Partimomnino Novae, Partim Nusquam In Germania Excusae, Sex & Pluribus Vocibus Compositae, Per Excellentissimum Musicum.  Omnia denuo multo quam antehac correctius edita.
      Printed in Nuremburg at the printing office of Catharine Gerlach, 1588.
      [‘Nine passages from the book of Job, and other sacred motets in four, five and six parts; previously printed in three books, but now collected into one volume.’ Contains 61 works, 58 by Orlando di Lasso, and the last three by his son Ferdinand di Lasso.  Includes the first edition of the only published work by Ferdinando di Lasso.  No other complete copy in Britain and only four copies in Europe]
    • Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi (c.1554-1609)
      Balletti a cinque voci.

      Printed in Antwerp by Pietro Phalesio, 1601.
      Old Italian text.
      [‘Ballets in five parts, with their verses.  For singing, playing, and dancing, with a masque of hunters in six parts and a concert of shepherds in eight.’  First published in Venice in 1591, a few further editions appeared before this one but of them all, only eight complete copies have survived, all in European libraries.  Of this 1601 edition the Sherborne copy is the only known complete example. The alto part, only, is found at Bergamo]
    • Various
      Paradiso Musicale.

      Printed in Antwerp by Pietro Phalesio, 1596.Italian text.
      [‘The Musical Paradise, a collection of madrigals and songs in five parts, by divers most excellent composers’. Contains 41 madrigals by 28 different composers, the great majority Italian.  Only one other copy exists in the British Library]
    • Luca Marenzio (1553/4-1599)
      Madrigale a cinque voci.

      Printed in Antwerp by Pietro Phalesio and Giovanni Bellero, 1593.
      Italian text.
      [‘Madrigals in five parts by that excellent musician Luca Marenzio. Newly brought to light and corrected with all diligence.’ Contains 78 madrigals for five voices and is the earliest collected edition of the work of Mazenio.  The only other complete copies known to exist are at Westminster Abbey, Christ Church Oxford, Hamburg and Dresden]

 

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See also:
Historic Library & Rare Book Collection

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