Med-Ren 2019: “Chez Schedel: Nuremberg, 1466”

After our food-filled festivity at the Aberdeen University May Festival, I drew together the strands of my Nuremberg archival research to consider mainly the financial (and food, because food) context in which “Chez Schedel” might have happened. Prices of things and services then and now were related to units calculated in terms of well-bred horses (represented by my own Overhall Mary May in the images, of course!), which might seem a bit whimsical, but makes a surprising amount of sense: one way wealth was reckoned c. 1500 was in the number of war horses one was obligated to fund (Schedel was in the 1/4 to 1/2-horse range, which places him at the lower end of the really rich, by the time he was fully established). And strangely, the purchase price one might expect for an established sports horse suitable for an ambitious amateur these days is not far off, in terms of how it translates to other items, such as annual salaries or prices for musical instruments.

I managed to close an odd hole in terms of the city musicians for Nuremberg, where it seems that previous scholars considered either the early part of the period I was covering, or the late part, but not the two together, so that was very satisfying to my geeky side (maybe Keith Polk mentions this somewhere, but I’ve not stumbled across it yet)! Part of the point was to figure out who might have been playing at Schedel’s party, and what instruments they were on, so for the recital portion, we ended up with the crack team of Catalina Vicens on portative organ (the city paid a “portatifer” until the money ran out, probably in due to a wee war in the middle of the century, and then started paying one again a bit later), Vincent Kibildis on gothic harp (impersonating Sebald Schreyer), and Tore Denys on tenor, while I bobbed between singing superius and getting to play one of the Schola Cantorum’s 2 (TWO!!) clavicytheria (Do they need two? Will they notice if one goes missing?). I think I saw a wee thumbs-up from Reinhard Strohm!

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