Marcel Pérès offers program notes for Codex Calixtinus Concert


2012-11-14 by Marcel Pérès

translation by Mary Pardoe





Ibi barbare gentes

omnium mundi climatum

catervatim occurrunt,

munera laudis Domino deferentes, Alleluia


Foreign nations hasten there

from all over the world,

bringing with them gifts of praise

to the Lord. Alleluia!

(First antiphon, Vespers of St James)


Since the ninth century the apostle St James has been the object of great faith and fervour in the Western Christian world. Even today people, more numerous each year and with a wide diversity of motivations, arrive from all over Europe to walk the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James, leading to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Yet the vocal music that once served as a support in the cult of St James is still little known, even to those involved with the pilgrimage, and it is therefore rarely performed today. Despite an otherwise extremely flourishing interest in the saint, the musical aspect of his cult is now relatively neglected. For that reason, in 1998, we embarked on a vast programme of research, publication and dissemination, aimed at creating a greater awareness of music of the twelfth century, when the position of St James of Compostela became fundamental in Western Christendom(1). (...)