Cantigas, romances and other Spanish melodies:
a music written by three cultures
This concert aims at offering a re-development section of medieval music, above all of the music played in Spain between XIII and XV century.
The chosen repertoire underlines the great cultural unrest of that period in the Iberian Peninsula. After the Mussulman conquest in 711, Spain becomes a meeting and cultural interaction place for groups belonging to different ethnic rooths and different religions: Christians, Hebrews, Arabs live and influence one another in their traditions and inevitably in their music.
The whole Spain becomes then an extraordinary musical lab where people sing and playeverywhere: “... the pleasure for music was so spread that in every Andalusian town it was impossible to find a silent barrio, calle or corner where a person could free himself from the omnipresent sounds of musical instruments and songs” (J. Ribera, La Musica de las Cantigas). Even between holy and profane, educated and folk, it occurs a mutual influence, so that some folk melodies are used in liturgical services both christian and jewish, and holy themes appear in folk songs texts.
This last one is the case of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, a collection of more than 400 songs dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the miracles that popular beliefs attributed to her.
The Cantigas de Santa Maria, by anonymous authors, have been collected by Alfonso X El Sabio, king of Castilla y Leon, and they are the mirror of a polyhedric multicultural society, where popular topics are received at court and holy themes are freely used in non-liturgical music, which
often suffer the Arab influence in the melodies, in the rhythms and in the strophes structure. In the same way the music of Hebrew people living in Spain, the Sephardits, knew the penetration of folk melodies spread in the surrounding environment of Arab domination, or of ancient melodies of Castillian tradition.
The proposed concert aims at giving a new life to these different souls which lived together and confronted themselves in the medieval Spain music without forgetting the joyful aspect which was and still is naturally linked to folk musical culture.