Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Music for Lent: "The Lily & The Lamb"

(Originally posted 21 February 2007)

The Lily and the Lamb: Chant and Polyphony from Medieval England

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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