Once the object of intense musicological debate, the choirbook of early sixteenth-century motets commonly known as the Medici Codex has received little attention in recent years. But a closer look at it suggests the need for reappraisal of some important points. In particular, the widely shared view of the manuscript as a work conceived and executed for the wedding of Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, and the French noblewoman Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne at Blois in May 1518 does not withstand scrutiny. An analysis of the scribal hands and other physical features indicates, rather, that production of the manuscript began independently of the wedding and possibly well before 1518, and that only a last-minute decision turned it into a gift for the couple—not, however, for the ceremony in France but for the their entry into Florence some four months later. This revised history sets the political background of the codex into sharper relief, in particular clarifying its role as a token of the dynastic ambitions harbored by Lorenzo's uncle, Pope Leo X.
The Creation of the Medici Codex
Joshua Rifkin has appeared as conductor and keyboard soloist with many prominent orchestras and ensembles, both period and modern, in the U.S., Europe, Israel, Australia, and Japan. With the Bach Ensemble, which he founded in 1978, he has performed and recorded numerous vocal and instrumental works of their namesake composer and won England's Gramophone Award for their recording of the Mass in B Minor. Breitkopf & Härtel released his critical edition of the Mass in 2006; he has also published studies on Renaissance and Baroque topics.
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Joshua Rifkin; The Creation of the Medici Codex. Journal of the American Musicological Society 1 December 2009; 62 (3): 517–570. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jams.2009.62.3.517
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