České roráty. K dezideratům a výzvám českého literárního dějepisectví
Czech Rorate Chants: On the Desiderata and Challenges of Czech Literary Historiography
- Číslo 32 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceSlovo a smysl - Word & Sense, 2019, 16, 32, 127-160
Rorate chants, Rorate Mass, matins, Advent, chant with melodic and textual troping, hymnology, early modern literature, Roráty, mše Rorate, matura, advent, tropovaný chorál, hymnologie, literatura raného novověku
This article resumes research on the so-called Rorate chants, that is to say on the chants connected with morning Votive Mass in honor of the Virgin Mary in Advent, otherwise known as the Rorate Mass after its incipit. The central aim of this article is to present the Rorate chants as an interesting topic for (Czech) literary historiography as well as comparative hymnology. One may well point out that the polymedial nature of Rorate chants directly suggests an interdisciplinary approach. In the case of the Czech tradition, however, this only puts into sharper relief the imbalance of scholarship across the hymnological disciplines. On the one hand, one is struck by the almost total absence of research on literary historiography; in the first part of the article, we analyze how and under what circumstances Czech literary historians have excluded Rorate chants from Czech literary studies. On the other hand, one finds a rather long history of musicological research, which, conversely, has carved out an important place for the Rorate chants in the history of Czech music, going so far as to establish them as a characteristically Czech musical form. What the Czech Rorate chants seem to offer Czech society, as we show in the second part of the article, is a certain potential for self-identification — a potential that has manifested itself, at various times and with varying intensity, in a tendency to identify the Rorate chants as a product of a national past and as one of the nation’s identifying features. However, the creation of a specific vocal repertoire for the Rorate Mass is also documented in other (Central) European regions. The third part of our essay seeks to answer the question: how significantly does the Czech Rorate tradition differ from its counterparts? The difference between the various Rorate traditions cannot be understood (merely) with respect to a language traditionally characterized by monolingually defined national philologies. It is therefore possible to study the Czech Rorate tradition in the context of a pan-European process made up of various church denominations in the early modern period — that is, by investigating the Czech Rorate chants from the perspective of denominational liturgies, in reference to a particular church polity or corresponding socio-cultural context.