Holiday Programming
5:00 pm
Sat October 19, 2013

Cantigas de Santa Maria (Canticles of Holy Mary): Wednesday, Dec 25 at 1 pm CT

Digital illustration from the book of the Cantigas de Santa Maria. Original illustration art print by Emilio Villalba.

Explore a glimpse of this vast (420 compositions) repertoire of poetry, songs, stories, and recitations about the “Blessed Virgin Mary” in this holiday special.  The immense collection of Marian songs and poetry came from the Court of King Alfonso X (1252-1284) of Castile-Leon (now Spain).  We will visit the songs and stories as interpreted by musicologist and contemporary musicians playing on period and modern instruments.  Join the growing number of enthusiasts who appreciate the complex themes and musical surprises of the Cantigas de Santa Maria.  Hosted by HPPR’s Debra Bolton.

Las Cantigas de Santa Maria (CSM), composed at the Court of King Alfonso X of Castile-Leon in the second half of the 13th century, are a vast repertory of poetry in medieval Galician-Portuguese. The 420 compositions include 353 narratives of miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary - one of the largest such collections - as well as a large number of devotional and liturgical poems, almost all set to music, and many illustrated by miniatures divided into smaller panels. The CSM are thus more than a body of literature or a miracle collection, they are a cultural project of great importance for medieval literature, music, and art, and for the history of patronage. Alfonso X’s ‘Cantigas Project’ occupied most of his reign (1252-1284) and was seen by him as an important part of both his political survival and his personal salvation. He devoted considerable resources to it, though the organization of its production, and its relationship to other products of the Alfonsine ‘scriptorium’, has not been established in any detail.

Sources:

  •  A book that illustrates the plates important in telling the story of Las Cantigas de Santa Maria.  The pictures are also important in illustrating musical venues and types of instruments being played.

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