Florence Cathedral, Guillaume Dufay, Nuper rosarum flores, Charles Warren, Craig Wright, Marvin Trachtenburg, isorhythm
In 1436, Pope Eugenius IV consecrated the newly-completed Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly known as Florence Cathedral. The completion of the cathedral’s dome was an incredible feat of great significance to the city of Florence, whose cathedral had remained unfinished for over one hundred years, and the splendor of the dedication ceremony reflected this reality. Franco-Flemish composer Guillaume Dufay was commissioned to write a motet for the occasion, and the resulting work, Nuper rosarum flores, has sparked a great deal of controversy in the musicological realm. In 1973, musicologist Charles Warren claimed that the isorhythmic proportions of the motet reflected the architectural proportions of the cathedral, but Craig Wright later exposed several flaws within Warren’s analysis, suggesting instead that the motet’s unique proportional structure was intended to reflect King Solomon’s Temple as described in scripture. Yet another hypothesis, presented by Marvin Trachtenburg, claims that both Warren and Wright’s arguments are correct in some regard. This article seeks to explore Wright, Warren, and Trachtenburg’s respective theories through the study of Dufay’s motet, of the dedication of Florence Cathedral, and of the historical context of this event. Due to the speculative nature of the debate surrounding Nuper rosarum flores, it is doubtful that scholars will ever agree on an explanation for the motet’s unusual structure.
Stahlhut, Jacy A.
"Nuper rosarum flores: The Cathedral Conundrum,"
Musical Offerings: Vol. 11
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.cedarville.edu/musicalofferings/vol11/iss1/3
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