Memorial Service for Dick Pfaff

A Memorial Service of Choral Vespers will be held in Magdalen College Chapel, Oxford, on Friday 12th May 2017 at 6 p.m. for the Revd Prof. Richard William Pfaff (1936-2016), Vice-President of the Henry Bradshaw Society; Rhodes Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1957-9; Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1967-2006; Visiting Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford, 1990-1.

The service will be directed by Mark Williams, Informator Choristarum, and sung by the Academical Clerks of Magdalen. The music will feature plainsong and music by Monteverdi, one of Dick’s favourite composers. All are welcome to this free service. Refreshments will be served afterwards. For more details, contact the Revd Dr. Jonathan Arnold, Dean of Divinity, Magdalen College, Oxford.

Cuthbert Johnson OSB (1946-2017)

The Society notes with great sadness the death early on 16 January 2017 of our President, the Right Reverend Abbot Cuthbert Johnson OSB.


Born Peter Johnson at Hebburn in County Durham, England, on 11 July 1946, the feast of St Benedict, he was greatly influenced by this fact and by the proximity of his home and his schools to the sites of ancient monasticism at Dryburgh, Jedburgh, Kelso and Melrose, Lindisfarne and Jarrow-Wearmouth. In 1964, with the Second Vatican Council in course, he entered Quarr Abbey, near Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, taking the monastic name Cuthbert, the patron Saint of his home diocese. The monastery had originally been built to house the community of Solesmes during its exile from France. At Quarr, the community kept the tradition of the chant and had a good level of scholarship, exemplified in monks such as Dom Frederick Hockey, Dom Louis Brou, Dom Henry Ashworth, the latter two long involved the Henry Bradshaw Society. The young Cuthbert benefitted from this stimulus, and in the first years pursued his musical education at several centres in France. He was ordained a priest in 1973.

In 1975 he was sent to begin further studies in liturgy at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute at Sant’Anselmo, in Rome. Later he completed a diploma in Christian archeology and the doctorate in Sacred Liturgy with a thesis on Dom Prosper Guéranger, the founder of Solesmes. In 1983 he was called to serve in the liturgy sector of the Roman Curia and in the thirteen years spent there developed many international contacts, travelling in the Americas, the Far East and Africa. His affability made him many friends and he was well known to the Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

In the summer of 1996 he was elected abbot of his home monastery and returned to take up this new responsability. He was blessed as Abbot in the abbey church on 22 October 1996 by Cardinal Virgilio Noè, then the Archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica. He retired after 12 years and was a chaplain in two women`s monasteries and other centres with Benedictine connections. His last posting was at Bellingham in Northumberland.

From 1992 he had been a member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and from 1997 till the time of his death, he was a Consultor of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments, appointed by Pope John Paul II and reappointed also by Pope Benedict XVI. In the long years 2001-2015 he was an advisor to the Congregation’s Vox Clara Committee. As well as serving as the Holy See’s liturgical liaison with the Carthusian Order, visiting the Grande Chartreuse in person.

He was known for a large number of studies, though his bibliography has yet to be published. Several volumes were issued in the Instrumenta Liturgica Quarreriensia, and others concerned the sources of texts appearing in the current Latin form of the Roman Rite. In 2003 he published an edition of correspondence between Abbot Guéranger and the a pioneering archeologist. Giovanni Battista de Rossi and in 2015 he published an edition of papers of Mgr Lawrence McReavy, of Ushaw College, recounting his work as an expert at the Vatican Council.

In April 2007, after serving for nearly 20 years as a member of the Council of the Henry Bradshaw Society, he was elected the Society’s President, being re- elected annually till the year of his death. Especially in younger years he had personally researched the Society’s foundation. The election was an honour Dom Cuthbert appreciated and he accomplished the role with diligence.

Abbot Cuthbert was diagnosed with an incurable tumour in the summer but suffered no pain and died peacefully according to his religious convictions in the early hours of 16 January 2017, aged 70.

Anthony Ward SM, 17 Jan 2017

Dick Pfaff (1936-2016)

Dick PfaffThe Society is sorry to report the death of its long-standing Vice-President Professor Dick Pfaff on 10 July 2016.

An obituary notice was published in the Online Newsletter of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Salon, issue 369, the second of the obituaries in this issue.

An obituary by Prof. Nigel Morgan was published in the Church Times on 16 September 2016. This text is only available for those with a subscription.

Michel Huglo (1921-2012)

The Society is sorry to report the death of its long-standing Vice-President Michel Huglo on 13 May 2012.

The account of music by Isidore of Seville in his Etymologies is well known, yet few scholars have felt it essential to examine the manuscripts which contain that account. Michel Huglo was such a scholar. This investigation led to the discovery of a whole family of Spanish Isidore manuscripts with a longer version of the text, augmented with diagrams. Huglo published them when he was already in his seventies (Scriptorium vol. 48, 1994). His unrivalled knowledge of medieval manuscripts, above all chant sources and treatises on music theory, was always generously shared. A broad span of scholarship was decisively enhanced by his experience of the daily liturgical celebration in monastic life. His profound learning was habitually expressed with delight: countless reviews of new publications on medieval chant and theory were a sign of his readiness to encourage others to know about current research. Michel was a marvellous person who had a long, colourful and fruitful life.

Born in Lille as the oldest of eleven, he entered the Benedictine Abbey of Solesmes after the fall of France in 1940, and was present when the German musicologist Karl Gustav Fellerer convinced German officials who had occupied the abbey not to transport a century’s work from the atelier of the Paléographie musicale to Germany. Between 1941 and 1947 he studied theology and philosophy, and was appointed to the Paléographie musicale atelier in 1949, where he worked on the critical edition of the Roman Gradual with Dom Eugène Cardine, Dom Jacques Froger, Dom Jacques Hourlier, and Dom Pierre Combe until 1960. Huglo’s principal responsibility was the study of the sources (Le Graduel Romain II: Les Sources, 1957). He left Solesmes in 1960, and received his doctorate from Paris IV in 1969 and his Doctorat d’État from Paris X in 1981. From 1962 he worked at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, where he prepared his pioneering study of tonaries (Les Tonaires, 1971) and continued to travel extensively in Europe in order to examine manuscripts. In 1976 he established a Section de musicologie at the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes in Paris. In 1987, the CNRS awarded him the silver medal for research. Between 1973 and 1986, he taught palaeography of medieval music at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (IVème section), where his courses attracted an international following: many of his students became friends for life. He later taught at the Université libre of Brussels (1974-1987) and the University of Vienna (1990). In 1988 he moved to the USA where he held numerous short-term posts, as a consultant at the Walters Art Museum; as Mellon Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study (School of Historical Studies), Princeton (1990-91); Visiting Professor at New York University (Spring 1993); and from 2000, Adjunct Research Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Huglo was honoured internationally, but above all in France and in his adopted country, the USA: he was elected Emeritus Directeur de recherche at the CNRS in Paris, Doctor honoris causa of the University of Chicago (1991), Corresponding Member of the AMS (1997), Honorary Member of the International Musicological Society (2007), and Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America (2008). He was a Vice-President of both the Henry Bradshaw Society and the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society.

Huglo published several hundred articles, reviews, and dictionary entries, and was as ready to write in theological, historical and paleographical journals as in anything strictly musicological. His published work covers a prodigious range of topics in the history, theory and analysis of medieval music: he had studied all the major texts. It is characteristic that when he re-published a selection of his papers (80 articles in four volumes: Ashgate, 2004-5), each was augmented with new evidence. For many years he worked on the RISM inventories of processionals, and these were perhaps his proudest achievements (RISM B XIV 1-2, 1999 and 2004). Of these David Hiley wrote that they ‘constitute what for lesser mortals would have been a lifetime’s work’. But the material which gave him the greatest intellectual pleasure—the theory of music—is represented in yet another inventorial enterprise, the descriptions of sources of medieval music theory published collaboratively with Christian Meyer and Nancy Phillips (RISM B III 3-4, 1987 and 1992). Bibliographies of his published work are in Recherches nouvelles sur les tropes liturgiques, Wulf Arlt and Gunilla Björkvall, eds. (Stockholm 1993), 449-62, the reprint volumes mentioned above (to 2004), and summary bibliographies appear in Grove Online and MGG.

Huglo continued to participate in scholarly activity until his sudden death (following a concert in honour of his ninetieth birthday)—writing papers, speaking at conferences (and always having pertinent questions for other (un)fortunate speakers), and engaging in continual correspondence with other scholars and students: a recent letter referred to ‘des promesses imprudentes d’articles, sur l’Enchiridion Huchubaldi, modèle (et non remaniement) de la Musica enchiriadis, et reprise de la nationalité de Jeronimus de Moravia: “Frère morave” ou “Scottish Black Friar” ?’ (It is entirely characteristic that this announcement was followed by ‘question the is That, écrivait Shakespeare’.) He was as much at home discussing the mathematics of the Timaeus as the content of the earliest surviving chant books or the polyphony of the Magnus Liber Organi, and it is typical that he attempted to estimate quite how many medieval liturgical books or books of music theory there might have been. He enjoyed the complexity of every detail, and he could evaluate what lessons it held.

Michel Huglo was predeceased by his first wife, Marthe Marie Morel and by his long-time companion, Nancy Phillips. He is survived by six of his brothers and sisters and by his second wife, Barbara Helen Haggh-Huglo.

David Ganz and Susan Rankin