The Secret of Acquitaine
Mel et lac - Milk and Honey
A New Song for Mary
The songs chosen for this programme all represent a new direction in Christian devotion during the Middle Ages - a joyous new song. This nova cantica coincided with the increasing popularity of Mary the Mother of Christ, reaching its peak in the 12th century. Poets and composers alike were inspired by these developments, creating pieces in a new and exciting musical and poetical style. The pieces presented in this programme stem from the high feasts of the Virgin Mary, Annunciatio to Assumptio, the majority is taken from the Christmastide. The immaculate conception of Mary is symbolized by her anointment with honey by the Holy Spirit. Her role as the mother of the Saviour is not only as that of a vessel, but as a giver and sustainer of life (milk). Our main sources belong to the rich Aquitanian tradition of the abbey of St. Martial de Limoges, supplemented by manuscripts from Norman Sicily and England.
Cantigas de Santa Maria
Cantigas de Santa Maria is a manuscript which contains 426 songs written in Galician-Portuguese during the reign of Alfonso X El Sabio (1221-1284) in a diverse cultural environment shared equally by Christains, Muslims and Jews. This richly illustrated collection of songs has diverse lyrics with different layers of meanings. Cantigas de Santa Maria is certainly one of the most valued medieval European cultural sources.
The concert Â‘The Secret of Acquitaine' features the following songs from Cantigas de Santa Maria: Santa Maria amar, Como somos as well as Da que Deus mamou and De Santa Maria sinal qual xe quer.