Tuesday, May 9, 2017

From Flanders to Canterbury to Aix-en-Provence

Somehow, I find the English Reformation and its aftermath wherever I go!

My husband and I went to the used record store in the Delano neighborhood of downtown Wichita, Spektrum Rekords, and found some classical music LPs, including a series from the Musical Heritage Society/Erato Records called ". . . of Castles and Cathedrals". One of them is of liturgical music of Provencale composers, recorded in St. Sauveur (Holy Savior) Cathedral in Aix-en-Provence.

In searching online for more information about the LP and the cathedral, I found this note in the description of the notable art in the cathedral in the Wikipedia entry:

A set of seventeen tapestries of the life of Christ, bought in 1656 by the chapter thanks to a legacy from Archbishop Michel Mazarin. The tapestries were among twenty-six originally woven in 1511 for Canterbury Cathedral in England, and decorated the choir there until 1642, when they were taken down during the English Civil War. They made their way to Paris, where they were bought by the chapter and placed in the choir of the cathedral. The tapestries were stolen during the French Revolution, but repurchased by the Archbishop of Aix-en-Provence and Arles. In 1977, the first nine tapestries were stolen, and have not been recovered.

Here's more information about the tapestries.

Another great piece of art in the Cathedral, The Burning Bush, is pictured above with the side panels (you'll just have to imagine that the panels are on either side of the centerpiece):

The Burning Bush triptych by Nicolas Froment, an Avignon painter, is a masterpiece of the 15th century. The painting came from a Carmelite convent, destroyed during the French Revolution. The central panel represents the Virgin and Child seen on the burning bush. In the foreground, Moses, guarding his flock, is amazed by the vision. The two other parts of the triptych show the patrons of the work, King René I of Naples, also ruler of Provence, and his consort Queen Jeanne, in devotional attitudes.

The compositions on the LP are by Jocelyne Poitevin (by attribution), Joseph-Francois Salomon, and Andre Campra, "The Provencale Masters of the Motet", and are performed by the Stephane Caillat Chorale with its eponymous conductor. The subhead for the album is, "The glowing fervour of the musicians of Provence intensifies the prayers of their ardent faith". 

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