ANGELS OF VENICE, Madre de Deus, Carol Tatum Harp, Christina Linhardt Vocals, Irina Chirkova Cello





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Published on Dec 12, 2012

ANGELS OF VENICE: Live unplugged performance of the 13th century song "Madre de Deus" ('Mother Of God") from the Cantigas de Santa Maria (No. 422) commissioned by King Alphonso El Sabio of Spain, sung in Galacian-Portuguese. (Recorded November 25, 2012).

Carol Tatum, Harp
Christina Linhardt, Vocals
Irina Chirkova, Cello

Directed by Michael Rose
Editing Director & Sound by David Swan Montgomery

Carol Tatum Music

The Cantigas de Santa Maria ("Canticles of Holy Mary") are 420 poems with musical notation, written in Galician-Portuguese during the reign of Alfonso X El Sabio (1221--1284) and often attributed to him.

It is one of the largest collections of monophonic (solo) songs from the Middle Ages. The Cantigas are written in Galician-Portuguese, the lyrical language of Castile at the time. The Cantigas are composed of 420 poems, 356 of which are in a narrative format relating to Marian miracles; the rest of them, except an introduction and two prologues, are of lore or involve Marian festivities. The Cantigas depict the Virgin Mary in a very humanized way, often having her play a role in earthly episodes.

The authors are unknown, even if several studies indicate that Galician poet Airas Nunes might well have been the author of a large part of them. King Alfonso X — named as Affonso in the Cantigas — is also believed to be an author of some of them as he refers himself in first person. Support for this theory can be found in the prologue of the Cantigas. Also, many sources credit Alfonso owing to his influence on other works within the poetic tradition, including his introduction on religious song. Although King Alfonso X's authorship is debatable, his influence is not. While the other major works that came out of Alfonso's workshops, including histories and other prose texts, were in Castilian, the Cantigas are in Galician-Portuguese, and reflect the popularity in the Castilian court of other poetic corpuses such as the cantigas d'amigo and cantigas d'amor.

The metrics are extraordinarily diverse: 280 different formats for the 420 Cantigas. The most common are the virelai and the rondeau. The length of the lines varies between two and 24 syllables. The narrative voice in many of the songs describes an erotic relationship, in the troubadour fashion, with the Divine. According to 2000 publishings by scholar Manuel Pedro Ferreira the models for the Cantigas might actually be something different than a traditional French rondeau. He calls the format for some of the Cantigas the "Andalusian rondeau" which has a structure of AB/BB/AB.

The music is written in notation which is similar to that used for chant, but also contains some information about the length of the notes. Several transcriptions exist.[citation needed] The Cantigas are frequently recorded and performed by Early Music groups, and quite a few CDs featuring music from the Cantigas are available.

Carol Tatum of ANGELS OF VENICE has arranged the song with a contemporary feel and with the contemporary instrument, the cello.

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