London, South Kensington
9 July 2002
RUSSIAN MUSICAL MANUSCRIPT - Oktoikh [Book of Eight Tones]. Provincial Russia, circa 1733
26 gatherings in eights, 95 x 75cm., numbered in Slavonic alphabetic numerals (lacking 1/1 & 8, 9/1 & 8, 11/1 & 8 and 26/8), otherwise apparently complete (including some blank pages), 5 staves with musical notation with neumes, written in various hands. (Tears and soiling from use). Contemporary blindstamped calf over wooden boards (worn, lacks clasps).Provenance: indistinct inscription on front paste-down that the book was written by hand in 1733; further ownership inscriptions on end-papers including Deacon Panfilii Kirilov, Priest Makarii Antonov and others.
Written probably for an Old-Believer parish, which did not allow church service books to be printed, the work begins with the Evening Service (Bless the Lord Oh my Soul), with a variant in Greek Chant, hymns to the Mother of God and on various feasts and saint's days. In the fifth gathering starts the Divine Liturgy (Alilulia) for the different days of the week and for Easter. Gathering 9 contains the prayers for the major feasts, and continues with the variations for the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, the troparions and other prayers for Holy Week and similar feasts, and finishes with the order of service for the burial of a lay person.
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