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The Life and Works of Manuel Chrysaphes the Lampadarios, and the Figure of Composer in Late Byzantium

Antonopoulos, Spyridon (2014). The Life and Works of Manuel Chrysaphes the Lampadarios, and the Figure of Composer in Late Byzantium. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This is the first full-length, bioergographical study devoted to Manuel Chrysaphes, a fifteenth century composer, theorist, and singer, who worked in the imperial court of Constantinople as lampadarios (a director of the imperial choirs) under the final two emperors of Byzantium, residing in Mistra, Serbia, and Crete after the disintegration of the Empire in 1453. Aside from Edward Williams’ study dedicated to the fourteenth-century musical reforms of Ioannes
Koukouzeles, there are virtually no complete studies on notable musicians of the late Byzantine Empire. This dearth of scholarship is all the more remarkable considering these musicians’ prodigious output and the emphasis on the individual and the act of composition
evident in manuscripts and treatises of Byzantine psalmody.

Manuel Chrysaphes was the probable scribe of four codices, the author of an important theoretical treatise, and the composer of approximately 300 works, which range from simple psalmody to virtuosic chants composed in the florid, kalophonic style. This study embraces Chrysaphes’ multifaceted personality as scribe, theorist, and composer, in order to bring his aesthetics and compositional voice into relief. A detailed analysis of Chrysaphes’ arrangement and settings of the Anoixantaria (verses and troped refrains based on Psalm 103) not only
serves to update our knowledge of evening worship in late Byzantium, but also provides a starting point towards understanding the identifiable elements of Chrysaphes’ style as composer. More broadly, this thesis attempts to define the figure of composer in the context of the late medieval world of the Christian East. Chrysaphes took the kalophonic tradition he inherited – a tradition of elaborate psalmody in which individual composers figured
prominently – to its logical extreme, filling out repertories with his own compositions, innovating in certain areas, and defending the traditions of his predecessors elsewhere. Chrysaphes, a scribe, singer, and choir director, operated first and foremost as a selfconsciously authorial composer. His prolific activity as author of hundreds of veritable ‘art works’ nevertheless leaves us with the impression that these were not detractors from, but rather, instruments of worship and spiritual perfection.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DF Greece
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
Doctoral Theses
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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