Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Song "Cantiga de Santa Maria"

If you are unfamiliar with the "Cantigas de Santa Maria" and are a fan of early period music, I highly recommend you look it up. The "Cantigas de Santa Maria" are medieval manuscripts written during the reign of Alfonso X "El Sabio" (1221-1284). They are one of the largest collections of monophonic songs from the middle ages, and most of them tell stories of the Miracles performed by Saint Mary. "El Sabio" was one of the first (and best) folklorists of all time. He knew of the stories of Saint Mary and sent people out to hear them, scribe them, and bring them back. He then had those stories illuminated (illustrated) and written as song. Once he had a large collection, they were bound in a book called "Cantigas de Santa Maria" which means "Canticles (Hymns or Songs) of Holy Mary". The melodies are very early period and the illuminations are beautiful. Here is a good starting point for you to learn more:

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