Book Series Medieval Church Studies, vol. 5

Laus angelica

Poetry in the Medieval Mass

Gunilla Iversen (auth)
Jane Flynn (ed)

  • Pages: 317 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:44 b/w, 6 col., 2 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English, Latin
  • Publication Year:2010

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53133-5
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57204-8
  • E-book
  • Available

A discussion of lyrical poetry written for performance within the medieval Roman Mass, including the Latin texts, medieval interpretations and commentaries, all with English translations.


"In short, this is an extremely well-crafted, well-researched survey into medieval texts of the Latin mass." E.W. Goldstrom, in: The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, vol. 21, n° 1, January 2012, p. 10-11)


The liturgical celebration of the Mass, a multifarious spiritual, artistic, and intellectual manifestation, had a central position in the cultural life of medieval Europe. The ‘Gregorian Chants’, mostly words from passages of the Old Testament, were reinterpreted and ornamented by means of new lyrics, and became the basis for new literary and musical genres, such as tropes, sequences, and other new lyrics. In spite of all the unifying efforts made by the Carolingian reformers, a rich variety in practice came to characterize the performance of the Mass in the ninth through the twelfth centuries. Extensive repertories of new texts and melodies were spread in manuscripts all over Europe. Until now this fascinating material has been the preserve of a small circle of specialists in musicology and philology. With this volume, the author introduces and analyses these hidden treasures to make them available to a wider public. It is directed to those with an interest in the philosophy, theology, and history of medieval Latin literature, and in the expressions of spiritual, poetic, and musical creativity of the European Middle Ages.



List of Illustrations



Note on the English Edition

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: New Lyric Genres in the Medieval Mass

Chapter 1: Encountering the Sacred: Medieval Interpretations of the Mass Introit

Chapter 2: To Sing with the Prophets: Tropes for the Antiphon of the Mass Introit

Chapter 3: Kyrie Eleison: Bilingual Prayer and Chanted Incense

Chapter 4: Gloria in Excelsis Deo: The Hymn of the Angels

Chapter 5: To Sing with the Host of Angels: Sequences of the Early Period

Chapter 6: In Praise of the Virgin Mary: Sequences of the Twelfth Century

Chapter 7: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus: The Hymn of the Angels and Mankind in Praise of the Trinity

Chapter 8: Agnus Dei: Prayer to the Lamb of God, Praise to the King of Angels

Chapter 9: Symphony of the Celestial Harmony: Liturgical Language and Hildegard’s Poetry

Chapter 10: Singing with Angels: Heavenly Music in Liturgical Poetry



Index of Manuscripts

Index of Textual Incipits

Index of Biblical Passages

General Index