The Musical Repertoires and Liturgical Contexts of the Codex Calixtinus: An Overview

This year marks the holy year of the city Santiago de Compostela, when the Feast Day of Saint James the Greater—July 25—falls on a Sunday. This program revisits the magnificent Romanesque structure with a virtual presentation reconstructing the Romanesque Cathedral, talks, and a musical feast featuring pieces from the famed Codex Calixtinus, performed by the group Lionheart.

Professor Margot Fassler’s talk, which opened for Lionheart’s performance, considers the mysteries of the Codex Calixtinus. A shrine book, she explains, ostensibly created to make a cult of a saint, is at once created by a community to write their own identity and their own origins. It also serves to exalt the pilgrimage for those who choose to make it, to buttress the religious and spiritual experience with myth and liturgy. Using these concepts, Fassler gives a thoughtful discussion on the role of liturgy and music in the twelfth century, and particularly around the development of the cult of Saint James.

Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy, Medieval Institute, University of Notre Dame; introduced by Nancy Wu, Museum educator, The Cloisters

Learn more about medieval manuscripts on the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History:

Learn more about Christian manuscripts in the Met’s collections:

Related Videos