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Kusser, Commonplace book, Beinecke, Osborn Music Ms. 16, p. 228
For centuries, philosophers, scholars, lawyers, doctors, theologians, artists, and poets have gathered the memorable thoughts and words of others and organized them in commonplace books. These treasure houses of ancient and modern knowledge preserve quotations, anecdotes, maxims, jokes, verses, and magical spells, as well as astrological predictions, medicinal and culinary recipes, devotional texts, and mathematical tables–in short, subject matter of every stripe. As such, they have played an integral and abiding role in Western intellectual life throughout the ages. - Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Commonplace Books: Special Exhibition, 2001.
Call Number: Online (& Music Library ML410 K9686 O97)
Publication Date: 2017-10-20
John Sigismond Cousser - born Johann Sigismund Kusser in Pressburg, Hungary in 1660 - was a pioneering figure in the musical history of the Baroque era. Having worked professionally as a performer and composer across Europe over the span of a fifty-year career, this well-travelled and cosmopolitan musician was subsequently acknowledged by Johann Mattheson as having played a key role in the transmission of both the French and Italian musical styles throughout the German-speaking lands. Following study in Paris, Cousser was employed at a string of German courts, training musicians in the newly fashionable French style. At the court of Duke Anton Ulrich in Wolfenbüttel, he experienced at first hand performances of opera by Italian virtuosos and subsequently introduced countless German musicians and their audiences to the Italian musical style. Yet with the onset of war in 1701, Cousser was forced to seek his fortune elsewhere, moving to London in 1704 before settling permanently in Ireland. The Well-Travelled Musician expands current knowledge of Cousser's early life and professional career significantly, examining his particular role in the dissemination of music and musical styles throughout the German-speaking lands, as well as in early eighteenth-century London and Dublin. Drawing upon a rich body of primary sources, above all the unparalleled evidence contained in Cousser's so-called commonplace book, it reveals the practicalities of early modern musical exchange at a grass-roots level, from Pressburg (now Bratislava) to Paris, Hamburg to Dublin, and beyond. SAMANTHA OWENS is Associate Professor of Musicology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (currently we have print only, but that may change)
This important German organ manuscript came to Yale from Lowell Mason, who acquired it as part of Christian Heinrich Rinck's library. Rinck was an organist and composer in Darmstadt. He was a student of Johann Kittel, who was Johann Sebastian Bach's last student. Rinck's library was acquired by Lowell Mason in 1852, who bequeathed it to Yale in 1873.
The cover initials "E.B." have been identified as Emanuel Benisch, who copied the manuscript in Dresden in 1688. This is the earliest extant source of Buxtehude's works contained herein, and the Strungk works were very likely copied from autographs.