Posts Tagged ‘medieval’

Cantigas de Santa Maria

July 13, 2010

manuscript illumination

manuscript illumination


The Cantigas de Santa Maria (“Canticles of Holy Mary”) are manuscripts written in Galician-Portuguese with musical notation during the reign of Alfonso X El Sabio (1221-1284). Many have beautiful illustrations. These songs from the Middle Ages are beautiful haunting music, akin to that written by Hildegard von Bingen.

manuscript illumination

manuscript illumination


It is an absolute must to hear the music performed by early music groups performed on instruments of the period. The illustrations provide a unique insight into the world of the performers and the instruments they used.

The Cantigas are often categorised as “Moorish-Andalusian”, due to the Arabic influence.

Three of the manuscripts are in Spain (two at the Monastery of Escorial and one in Madrid) and one in Florence in Italy.

Galicia is where Santiago de Compostela is located. The destination of the Way of St James, El Camino de Santiago, one of the most important of the medieval pilgrimages.

Special thanks to my good friend Roman who has a habit of drawing my attention to excellent music.

also see

The History of the Pilgrimage to Compostela