Thursday, April 9, 2009

Song and dance

As ye have heard, knights and damsels often enjoyed feasts and moments of rest and relaxation, which no doubt featured music and dance. But what music?

The Cantigas of Holy Mary, found in four 13th century parchment codices, contain medieval Spain's most important lyrical works. The 427 poems were written en Galician-Portuguese by King Alfonso X The Wise and include their corresponding musical notation adorned with extraordinary miniatures.

Among the songs are tales of miracles popular in the Middle Ages with praises to the Virgin Mary that are a testament to the Marian devotion that developed in parallel to the construction of the Gothic cathedrals.

But others involve celebration and dancing. You can hear many interpretations of these songs, including heavy metal, but these are more traditional:

Cantigas de Santa Maria, Cantiga CCV — shown above, or at:
Cántigas - 07 Eduardo Paniagua - Cantiga d'Ucles y Calatrava
The story of a wartime miracle. The words are in the comments:
"Oraçon con piadade oe a Virgen de grado,
e guard' á de mal por ela o que ll' é encomendado..."

Miniaturas de las Cantigas de Alfonso X
The music is the prologue to the Cantigas, and the video shows the miniatures in the codices, and a variety of musical instruments, some strange, some familiar.

Ensemble Obsidienne - Muito demostra a Virgen
Singing and dancing! Utterly charming.

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