Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Lady of Sorrows in Medieval English Chant

Since yesterday was the Feast of the Triumph or Exaltation of the Cross, today is the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Seems like the perfect day to listen to Anonymous 4's recording The Lily and The Lamb:

This program consists of medieval English chant, polyphony and poetry from the thirteenth through early fifteenth centuries and is built around three thirteenth century British versions of the sequence describing Mary’s experiences at the foot of the cross. The first setting, Stabat iuxta Christi crucem, a monophonic Latin work from the Irish Dublin Troper, tells the story simply and movingly, in the voice of a narrator, The second, Stond wel, moder, under roode, is based on the original Latin work, but is much longer and more elaborate. The English text of this work is written as a dialogue between Mary and her dying son. The third work, Jesu Cristes milde moder, also in English, is the most elaborate of the three settings. Melodically unrelated to the others, this version is polyphonic, set for two hypnotically intertwining voices. Its story is told in the voice of a narrator, and, like many of the works on this program, it is quite graphic in its depiction of the scene at Calvary.

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