The book contains sermons and a Mass for Saint James ("Santiago" in Spanish), whose feast day is at the end of July. Annual pilgrimmages culminated with this Mass. The music contained in the book would have been sung at the Mass and other Christian observances during this period.
The Codex Calixtinus is also known for its miniatures, illustrations of the text. You can see an example in the BBC news article here.
The Music Collection has several compact discs that contain this precious and ethereal-sounding music:
- Compact Disc 8000, performed by all-female ensemble "Anonymous 4"
- Compact Disc 17735, performed by the Monteverdi Choir, showcases several sources of music for the pilgimmage. This CD is also available online through Naxos Music Library. (Ball State log-in required)
A little vocabulary:
- "Codex" is Latin for "book"
- "Manuscript" means hand-written
- "Performance edition" is sheet music in modern notation (vs. original Gregorian chant notation)
- "Feast day" is the day set aside in the Catholic Church's calendar to commemorate a special person or event in Church history
- "miniature" means any painted or drawn illustration in a medieval manuscript. Even when they take up a full page they are still called "miniatures."