lunedì 18 agosto 2014

El Cant de la Sibil-la - Figueras/Savall (Voll.1-2-3)

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The Song of the Sibyl (Catalan: El Cant de la Sibil·la is a liturgical drama and a Gregorian chant, the lyrics of which compose a prophecy describing the Apocalypse, which has been performed at some churches of Majorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) and Alghero (Sardinia, Italy) in Catalan language on Christmas Eve nearly uninterrruptedly since medieval times. It was declared a Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO on November 16, 2010.

Several versions, differing in text and music, exist.

- - Latin Sibyl, from 10th-11th century, which incorporates fragments of The City of God (XVIII, 23) by St. Augustine
- - Provençal Sibyl, from the 13th century, reflecting influence of troubadour poetry
- - Catalan Sibyl. The latest and most ornamented version. Incorporates popular traditions of Balearic Islands. Refrain of this version is sometimes written for three or four voices

The author of The Song of the Sibyl is unknown. The prophecy was first recorded as an acrostic poem in Greek by bishop Eusebius of Caesarea and later translated into Latin by Saint Augustine in The City of God. It appeared again in the 10th century in different locations across Catalonia, Italy, Castile, and France in the sermon Contra judeos, later inserted into the reading of the sixth lesson of the second nocturn of matins and was performed as an integral part of the liturgy.

This chant was originally sung in Latin and under the name of Judicii Signum, but from the 13th on, versions in Catalan are found.

These early Catalan versions of the Judici Signum were not directly translated from Latin. Instead, they all come from a previous adaptation in Provençal, which proves the huge popularity this song must have had in the past.

Amongst the Catalan texts which come from this common root, there is a 14th century Codex kept in the Archives of the Majorcan Diocese, which was rediscovered in 1908. Oral transmission and the lack of written scripts has caused the various old texts in the vernacular to suffer many modifications over time, which has led to a diversity of versions.

The Song of the Sibyl was almost totally abandoned throughout Europe after the Council of Trent (held in 25 sessions from 1545 to 1563) declared its performance was forbidden. Nevertheless, it was restored on Mallorca as soon as in 1575.

Originally, the Song of the Sibyl was sung in a Gregorian melody and, as it can be seen in the Codex previously mentioned, the musical accompaniment that was played in Majorca, with the exception of some variations, was the same documented in other places across the Iberian Peninsula. Today, it cannot be ascertained for certain when the Song of the Sibyl was sung to this Gregorian melody, but most likely until the 16th or 17th century. Oral transmission of the song caused, as it did with the text, the birth of different variations and models. The interest this chant produced amongst early Musicologists and Folklorists of the 19th century led to the transcription of the different known versions of the song. The versions still played nowadays take these transcriptions as model.

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