Autoportrait de l’artiste en lièvre
Le « Codex Caioni » est le manuscrit personnel de l’organiste d’un monastère perdu au fin fond de la Transylvanie. Pourtant il contient des richesses qui, nous le verrons, vont bien au-delà de l’intérêt local. Une pièce semble y jouer un rôle très particulier, celle qui ouvre ce disque. Elle apparaît trois fois dans le manuscrit dans trois versions différentes, et il semble bien qu’il s’agisse d’un autoportrait de l’auteur, Johannes Caioni, qui s’y représenterait sous les traits d’un lièvre… / Portrait of the Artist as a Hare
The Codex Caioni was the personal manuscript of the organist of a remote monastery in Transylvania but, as we shall see, it contains riches that are of much more than purely local interest. One piece in particular — the first one on this recording — seems to be of special importance. It occurs three times in three different versions in the manuscript, and appears to be autobiographical: a self-portrait, as a hare, of the author of the manuscript, Johannes Caioni.

ARN68785 Codex Caioini - XVIII-21

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Johannes Caioni / Ioan Caianu ou encore Kajoni Janos, né orthodoxe en 1629, et converti au catholicisme en 1648, devient franciscain en 1650. Il est nommé évêque (vicaire général de Transylvanie) en 1678 par le pape Innocent XI, qui a entendu parler de ses talents de musicien. Il renonce à cette charge pour se consacrer à des tâches moins administratives. Humaniste typique du XVIIe siècle, il s’intéresse à bien d’autres choses que la musique : plantes médicinales, facture d’orgue, édition et imprimerie… C’est le premier musicien roumain qui a acquis une réputation européenne. Il meurt en 1687, prieur du monastère de Lazarea / Szarhegy.
Malgré l’édit de tolérance religieuse en vigueur à cette époque en Transylvanie, en contraste avec le reste de l’Europe ravagé par les guerres de religion, Caioni subit au cours de sa vie de nombreuses pressions hostiles. Les nobles hongrois n’acceptent pas facilement qu’un franciscain « valaque », on dirait de nos jours roumain, obtienne un poste d’évêque. C’est certainement une des raisons qui l’ont poussé à démissionner. On peut même imaginer que sa conversion au catholicisme, indispensable à la poursuite de ses études, a été subie plus que choisie.

Johannes Caioni [Ioan Caianu, János Kájoni] was born into the Orthodox faith in 1629 but was converted to Catholicism in 1648, and he became a Franciscan in 1650. His many-sided activities attracted the attention of Pope Innocent XI, who appointed him vicar general of Transylvania in 1676. He soon gave up that position, however, to devote his time to tasks of a less administrative nature. Typical of seventeenth-century humanists, Caioni had wide interests. He was not only a musician, but also a collector of church and secular music, an organ builder and restorer, a publisher and printer; he was well known as a teacher, theologian and philosopher; he was interested in herbal medicine; and he was the first Transylvanian musician to gain a European reputation. When he died in 1687 he was prior of the Franciscan monastery of Lazarea (Szárhegy) in present-day Romania.
At a time when persecution, intolerance and wars of religion were the general rule in Europe, the Edict of Torda (now Turda) of 1568 had proclaimed religious tolerance in the principality of Transylvania. But that did not prevent Caioni from suffering much hostility and pressure in the course of his life. The Hungarian nobility found it hard to accept that a Franciscan from Wallachia had attained the high position of vicar general. And that must have been one of the reasons for his resignation, just a few months after his appointment. We may imagine that his conversion to Catholicism (in order to be able to continue his studies) had also been an obligation rather than a choice.

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