From Enigma to Virtual Splendor - The Nazi-Era Theft and Restitution of Guillaume de Machaut’s Extraordinary Medieval Manuscript, the Ferrell-Vogüé

Lecture | April 12 | 12-1 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Carla Shapreau, Institute of European Studies

 Institute of European Studies, Department of Music

The stunning Guillaume de Machaut medieval codex known as the Ferrell-Vogüé has been cloistered in private ownership for nearly all of its long life. It is a manuscript of exceptional importance to the fields of music, literature, and art. It was also one of the most significant musical losses suffered on French soil during World War II. This lecture will focus on a time in the life of this manuscript when it was confiscated during the Nazi era in Paris, taken to Germany, evacuated to the Bavarian countryside for safety, discovered after the war, and finally repatriated to France and then to its true owner. It would remain far from public view until an ownership change and a loan to the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, where it was digitized in 2009 by the Digital Image Music Archive of Medieval Music and made accessible online and in a full-size facsimile print edition in 2014. This case study provides a lens through which one can examine the role of musical material culture during the Nazi era, immediately after World War II, and into the twenty-first century.

Carla Shapreau is a Senior Fellow in the Institute of European Studies, a Curator in the Department of Music, and a Lecturer in the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Co-author of the Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript, Oxford: DIAMM Publications, 2014 (American Musicological Society Claude V. Palisca Award 2015) and Violin Fraud -- Deception, Forgery, Theft, and Lawsuits in England and America, Oxford University Press, 1997, she has written broadly on issues of cultural property. She is the recipient of a 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship in connection with her research regarding music-related losses during the Nazi era and twenty-first-century ramifications.