Venite a laudare l'amorosa Vergene Maria
...the holy music in the everyday medieval life
"A poor nun, carrying cooking-wood, imagine herself carrying the cross: the only idea to take the rood is enough to fill the action with the splendour of the supreme act of love. The blind little woman doing the washing takes the washtub and the wash-house for the manger and the
cattleshed …" (J. Huizinga, L'autunno del medioevo).
In the Middle Ages the religious sense filled every aspect and every moment of the believer life; everything was the mirror of a holy symbol and every event was the result of God’s agency. The Cantigas de Santa Maria are a representation of this mystical and in the same time popular
world; a collection of more than four hundred songs telling decidedly apocryphal miracles, heavenly interventions in any field of human life.
But all these miracles are always the action of Virgin Maria, not of the Almighty God , who, at least for what concerns Spain, seems to have delegated the task to attend to believers to the "Madre de Jesu Cristo".
This inclination, typical of the popular imagination, to change saints and angels into godlike creatures to dedicate preyers and vows to, was the first criticism that Islam addressed to the West. Father of a monotheism which follows also the Christian doctrine, Mohammed has immediately to fight the polytheism which had replaced one and only god with a great number of saints in the Qa'aba , a temple probably hallowed to Christianity.
Not only in Spain became Maria character the real cult object, but also in French troubadours’ songs the Virgin is able to motivate the entrebescamen, that is to say the mannerism and the darkness of a poetry which hides also a religious meaning. Most troubadours, whom the Spanish musicians modeled themselves on, believed in the Cathar heresy, imposing the worship of Christ’s mother in the form of eternal feminine entity.
From the symbolisms of Catharist heresy and of Arab mysticism, having an important Neoplatonic component, it was born troubadour poetry which is, together with Spanish Cantigas, an excellent example of Court music, cultivated but detached from the liturgical world, joyful and danceable
but clearly tied to the faith world.In Italy this music which is ate the same time sacred and secular has its origin in a different environment which is not so tied to court and it is addressed to the common people to bring a message of spiritual renewal in a period of rough political
struggles and of mistrust of corrupt clergy: Laudi was born in the secular-christian confraternities already operative in x century and develop as a means to preach: whether at the beginning they went back to the traditional liturgy, to psalms chant, in the XIII century, at the
top of their growth, they are in the vulgar tongue and celebrate Jesus, the Virgin and the different Saints, they are well appreciated by the common people and some confraternities called “Laudesi” develop to sing them. This music, which is religious but extra-liturgical, made to go
into everyday life, to entertain and amuse listeners and in the meanwhile to spread faith, is shown in Galiverna’s concert, in an imaginary tour through Europe and its different schools of thought from XII century to XV century: a music which is oriented to lay the basis of
the future cultiveted music, but does not neglet the energy, the vitality and catchiness of popular music, through instruments which do not belong to the liturgical world but sometimes they support the vocal polyphonies tested in the religious.