Maria! Maria! 400 Years of Chant in the Birgittine Order
Welcome into the Birgittine sisters’ world of Gregorian chant! Also known as Frälsarorden, the Birgittine Order is the only one with Scandinavian origins. Saint Birgitta (ca 1303-1373) and her collaborator and confessor, Petrus Olavi of Skänninge, laid its foundations in Rome, in the 1350s. Birgitta had moved there in 1349, and remained in that city for the rest of her life. After the first Birgittine abbey opened in Vadstena in 1384, the order rapidly spread across Europe.
The chants on this recording are from the Birgittine Abbey, Maria Refugie in Uden, The Netherlands and this is the first time that chants from the rich collection in Maria Refugie have been recorded. It is also the first recording of the Birgittine repertoire from sources dating after the Middle Ages. I have selected 37 chants that reflect the musical and textual richness of Cantus sororum. The material spans more than 400 years, yet forms a coherent repertoire that belongs to the Gregorian chant tradition in all important aspects, with a Birgittine twist.
Lagergren Musicologist and artistic leader of Ensemble Gemma
During the Middle Ages Gregorian music spread throughout Europe. Monodic music, sung in unison with texts in Latin, was, as we know, a song sung. The author of this selection of Latin songs, which the sterling label, presents, is the composer Birgitta Birgersdotter, born in Uppland, a historical province of Sweden, in 1303. She died in Rome in 1373, and a year later he was canonized. She married at age 13 with Ulv Gudmarsson, who everyone said was a good and honest man and also that he was a bit stupid. They had eight children and after the death of Ulv, he entered a monastery. Bridget Birgersdotter, like many women from medieval times, had divine revelations through dreams. He had contact with music as a result of his stay, for a short period of time, in Milan. It created the religious community that had to become the Order of the Most Holy Savior or the Bridgettines: it is the only one that has Scandinavian origins.The album was recorded in the new church of Hemmesjö, in Växjö, in October 2017. This album contains the 36 songs distributed for each of the days of the week. It is a repertoire that consists of two hundred songs written for female voices that honor the Virgin Mary. The notation that has been preserved dates from the fifteenth century. This is a repertoire articulated in a surprisingly stable tradition that was sung to all the abbeys of the Bridgettines sisters, and nowadays we call Cantus sororum. The songs of this recording come from the abbey Maria Refugie d'Uden, Holland. The abbey was founded around 1437, under the name Mariënwater. Marie Refugie has a library with a unique collection of liturgical manuscript books with musical notation ranging from 1500 to the end of 1800. Professor Karin Strinnholm Lagergren, researcher of the monastic song - his research project is 'The World Musical of the Birgittine Order', directed by Maria! Maria! for five female voices. All a feat because it is the first time that the repertory of Bridgettines is recorded, written in square notation. The director has selected only antiphons, and no salmon, and claims that it is the first recording that uses fonts written after the 16th century. Strinnholm Lagergren highlights the melodic generosity of the flat song and highlights the most poetic aspects of a music that in every new audition a new nuance is discovered.Sonagrama Magazine