Canticum Canticorum - Capilla Flamenca
Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 8.30 pm.
Church of Plecnikova, Ljubljana
CANTICLES FOR LOVE
Tota pulchra es amica mea… how fair you are, my love,
oculi tui columbarum your eyes are doves,
capilli tui sicut greges caprarum your hair is like flocks of sheep
labia tua ut vitta coccinea your lips are a ribbon of purple
These quotations from the fourth chapter of King Solomon's Song of Songs capture the tone of this extraordinary poetry, written some 2500 years ago. For more than two millennia, the Song of Songs has been a source of inspiration for scholars, believers, visual artists and musicians.
The metaphors in these sensual songs between bride and bridegroom allow interpreters a wide range of possibilities, from the mystical to the erotic. Despite the many debates of theologians and church fathers in the Early Middle Ages, a number of the verses from the Song of Songs were incorporated into the sung liturgy of the Blessed Virgin Mary in European antiphonals starting in the eighth century.
The first polyphonic versions of the Song of Songs in this Marian tradition appeared in England, where masters such as Dunstable and Plummer produced splendid compositions. Their examples were followed on the continent by Dufay and his contemporaries in the 15th century. Around 1500, this Biblical poetry was again in fashion, this time in the so-called chanson-motet of the Burgundian world. Over the course of the 16th century, interest in the sensual aspects of the poetry increased, since they served as ideal sources of inspiration for the personal and emotional text-painting favoured in the period. All the major polyphonists drew inspiration from the Song of Songs.
The Capilla Flamenca has for some years been under the spell of the poetic and musical power of the Song of Songs. The treatment of this exalted love over the ages affords a unique opportunity to map the changes in our culture. The mysticism of the theocentric Medieval mind gives way, around 1500, to the sensuality of the egocentric Renaissance Man. Today, the multifarious layers of meaning in the Song of Songs speaks to the imagination as clearly as ever.
Performed by 4 singers and 1 lute
Tickets and information: www.seviqc-brezice.si