Gerbert von Hornau, Martin
GERBERT VON HORNAU, MARTIN
Liturgist whose collection of medieval music-theory texts, Scriptores ecclesiastici de musica sacra potissimum, opened the way for scholarship in medieval music; b. Horb am Neckar, Germany, Aug. 12, 1720; d. St. Blaise (Schwarzwald), May 13, 1791. He studied philosophy and theology at the Abbey of St. Blaise and there was professed as a Benedictine (1737), ordained (1744), and elected abbot (1764). As abbey librarian he was intrigued by its MS treatises dealing with music theory and history, and thereafter he made extensive researches in France, Switzerland, southern Germany, and Italy, gathering musical and liturgical MSS of the Middle Ages (his Iter Alemannicum, 1765, recounts his travels). He projected a scholarly history of chant and sacred music, but its first printing and almost all his materials were lost in a fire at the abbey in 1768. Finally, in 1774 it appeared in two volumes as De cantu et musica sacra a prima ecclesiae aetate usque ad praesens tempus. The second volume of J.N. Forkel's Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik borrows heavily from this work. In 1784 Von Hornau issued the three-volume Scriptores …, considered one of the greatest single achievements in the monastic tradition. It was continued in Coussemaker's Scriptorum de musica mediiaevi (1864). Von Hornau published also several important liturgical works, such as Vetus liturgia Alemannica (2 v. 1776) and Monumenta veteris liturgiae Alemannicae (2 v. 1777), and anticipated 19th-century church-music reforms by restoring plainchant in his own community. His position as prince-abbot, together with his musicological achievement, engaged him in correspondence and contact with many great personalities of his time, among them G. B. "Padre" martini, J. J. rousseau, Empress maria theresa, and Pope pius vi.
Bibliography: m. gerbert von hornau, Die Korrespondenz des Fürstabts, ed. g. pfeilschifter, 3 v. (Karlsruhe 1931–34). c. grossmann, "Fürstabt M. Gerbert als Musikhistoriker," Kirchenmusikalisches Jahrbuch 27 (1932) 123–134. f. niecks, "Martin Gerbert: Priest, Prince, Scholar and Musician," Musical Times (1882) 585–588, 646–649. h. hÜschen, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 4:1783. h. leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie 6.1:1036–49. b. heurtebize, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 6:1294–96. c. f. pohl, Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians 3:598–599. f. l. harrison et al., Musicology (Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 1963). g. reese, Music in the Middle Ages.