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Eduardo Paniagua Cantigas of Southern France - Alfonso X El Sabio 1221-1284 PN1610 2 CD
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Format2 Audio CD
Ordering NumberPN1610
Barcode8428353516108
labelPneuma
Release date11/12/2020
salesrank2371

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      CANTIGAS OF SOUTHERN FRANCE

      The Cantigas of Southern France: Occitania and Rocamadour, form part of Pneuma’s project to complete a retrospective recording of the Cantigas de Alfonso X. In the 420 Cantigas de Santa Maria, the number of miracles located in France is second only to the number attributed to Spain. This double CD adds 24 French cantigas to those already recorded and published on PN2-1590 Cantigas del Norte de Francia: Soissons y Arras, PN-520 Cantigas de Francia, PN-490 Caballeros en las Cantigas, PN-820 Cantigas de Bretaña (Celtas), PN-240 Remedios Curativos, PN-1170 Cantigas del Mar Cantábrico and PN-400 Flauta y tamboril. More CDs of French cantigas are yet to be recorded: Provence, Auvergne-Burgundy and those of the Paris and Chartres area.

      CANTIGAS DE OCCITANIA Y ROCAMADOR

      As of the 9th century, one of the areas where the Romanesque culture of the Middle Ages flourished most was the "Occitan Country". Occitan was the first language to replace Latin in lyric poetry. Occitan culture enjoyed a period of splendour between the 11th and 13th centuries with the first troubadours and courtly love. Occitan was also the language of the County seats: Carcassonne, Toulouse, Foix, Provence, the Duchy of Aquitaine, the Kingdom of Navarre and the Crown of Aragon, all lacking political unity. The battle of Muret in 1213, in the Albigensian Crusade, led to the end of Occitan culture and to the expansion of the Crown of Aragon in the French Midi region. In the mid-13th century, Languedoc came under the French crown.

      Occitania comprises seven historical regions: Gascony and Guyenne in the west, Limousin and Auvergne in the north, the Dauphiné and Provence in the east and Languedoc in the south. The territory as a whole is surrounded either by sea or mountainous borders, and experienced little Celtic influence, a long period of Romanisation and some German influence.

      St Sernin (Saturnin), of Greek origin, went on to Christianise Gallia Narbonensis, the Gaul of Narbonne, and was martyred in Toulouse in the year 250. Vandals and Arian Visigoths left their mark on the region, which in the 6th century gave King Clovis I the excuse to federate the Franks and annex the Occitan region at the battle of Vouillé in 507. The Visigoths lost their capital, Toulouse, and retreated to the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania, which remained Visigothic until the Muslim conquest in 711.

      The Kingdom of Aquitaine, the County of Toulouse, Catharism, the Albigensian Crusade, the Way of Saint James, the Crusades and the Order of Preachers of St Dominic of Guzman all left their mark on the spirituality of the region. The Cantigas de Occitania are like an adventure novel full of historical and mystical teaching, narrating miracles, located in the sanctuaries and churches of Toulouse, Cahors, Narbonne, Montpellier, Vauvert, Beziers and Rocamadour, and King St Louis’ crusade to Tunisia, which set sail from a port near Marseilles.

      Our Lady of Rocamadour is a Black Madonna made of wood, with her eyes closed and sitting as if she were on her Son’s throne. The image is a hieratic and crowned maiestas mariae Virgin. The name comes from the Gallic town of Rocamadour (Ròc Amador in Occitan, Rocamador in Spanish). The sanctuary became important after the Cluniac monks of Tulle (Limousin) founded an abbey there in 1113. In 1162, the Benedictines found the incorrupt body of St Amador in a cave, a hermit identified in popular legend with Zacchaeus, a rich publican from Jericho married to Veronica of the Gospel. The Book of Miracles, written in 1172 and containing 126 cures attributed to the Virgin, reveals the cult of the Black Virgin of Rocamadour that made the sanctuary one of the most important places of pilgrimage in the Christian West from the 12th century onwards. The pilgrimage became known internationally and the Black Virgin was visited by, among others, St Bernard, St Thomas Becket and Henry II of England. Alfonso VIII of Castile carried her standard to the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, and in 1244 St Louis King of France visited with his mother Blanca of Castile.

      The Virgin of Rocamadour, worshipped as the patron saint of sailors and fishermen, became part of the French Way of Saint James via the Le Puy and Vézelay routes, which helped spread her cult to different parts of Spain and Portugal. On November 23rd, 1248, King Fernando III of Castile and Leon, Alfonso X's father, conquered Seville with an army that included many French knights sent by his cousin King St Louis to reconquer the lands held by Islam. These knights, most of them from Occitania, carried the image of Our Lady of Rocamadour.

      Alfonso X compiled the miracles from Rocamadour in 15 Cantigas. We dedicate this CD, with 12 of them, to this sanctuary. Cantiga number 8 "The viola of Pedro Sigrar" and number 22 "The Farmer from Armenteira" are on CD PN-490 Caballeros. Cantiga 267/373 "The Merchant of Flanders" is on PN-1150 Cantigas de Flandes.

      1 CSM 153 ON A PILGRIMAGE SEATED IN A CHAIR.
      A sceptical woman from Gascony scorns the pilgrimage to Rocamadour and says that she will not go unless she is taken in the chair where she is comfortably seated. The chair immediately flies to the foot of the altar of the Virgin. Legendary air travel with Oriental overtones.

      2 CSM 331 A BOY AND HIS MOTHER IN ROCAMADOUR.
      A woman had a twelve-year-old son who she loved and showered with a thousand mother’s kisses. The boy was dying of a high fever and his mother cried "Without you, my son, this world turns dark". After mass he was prepared for burial and relatives took the grieving mother home. In the early hours of the morning, mad with grief, she went back to his burial place, but the Virgin of Rocamadour brought him back to life.

      3 CSM 159 THE JOINT OF MEAT.
      This cantiga is about theft in the pilgrims’ hostels. A maid stole a piece of meat prepared at the inn for some pilgrims who were going to Rocamadour. The meat itself revealed its hiding place, by jumping up and down in the chest where it was hidden.

      4 CSM 62 THE CHILD LEFT AS A PLEDGE.
      A good woman could not repay her debts after spending all her money on doing good works. The creditors refused her credit, and she had to leave her son as a pledge, which she greatly regretted. Her family would not help her save her son and she could only turn to the Virgin, who rescued the boy. The people of the village did not prevent it, although they knew it was illegal.

      5 CSM 175 THE HANGED PILGRIM.
      In 1090, a German pilgrim, devotee of the Virgin Mary, was passing through Rocamadour with his son on his way to Santiago de Compostela. A wicked and heretical innkeeper from Toulouse planted a silver cup in his son's sack. The boy was betrayed and discovered as a thief, and the judge sentenced him to be hanged before his devastated father, who, weeping, continued his promised pilgrimage. Three months later, on the way back he went to see his son on the gallows discovering that he was still alive. Holy Mary had held him in her hands all that time. The people were furious and sought out the heretical innkeeper, who confessed his guilt and was burned at the stake.

      6 CSM 157 THE FLOUR OF THE ROACMADOUR PILGRIMS.
      On their way to Rocamadour, some pilgrims stayed in a village where an innkeeper stole their flour to make doughnuts. When she tried to eat them, a knife pierced her mouth and she could not get it out. The doctors could not remove it either and she desperately went to the altar of the Virgin of Rocamadour. After her confession, a priest, not a doctor, removed the knife.

      7 CSM 158 A KNIGHT IMPRISONED.
      An honourable knight was unjustly imprisoned by his lord who threw him into chains. When the knight promised to make a pilgrimage to Rocamadour the Virgin Mary set him free. The prisoner went via Toulouse to hang the chains in the sanctuary as promised.

      8 CSM 217 THE FRENCH COUNT
      A Count from France was travelling with ten of his knights from Rocamadour to the church of Santa Maria de Vilasirga in Palencia along the Way of Saint James. He could not enter the church, not even when his men pushed him, until he confessed his sins.

      9 CSM 214 KNIGHT, DICE, TEMPLE.
      The Virgin Mary helps a knight win back his own church which he almost lost in a game of dice. And just as he promised, he gave it to the Virgin. He was able to earn his living from the income from owning a church. Alfonso X’s "Book of Chess, Dice and Board Games" describes the game "a mayores", which consisted of throwing three dice to see who wins the highest score. According to the book "Evil is not in the game but in the way it is played".

      10 CSM 343 THE MAID FROM CAHORS.
      A French woman from Cahors had a beautiful daughter who was possessed by the devil. Abandoning all modesty, the devil, in the guise of the girl, went about shouting out the sins he had committed. The mother asked the chaplain of the church for help, but the devil insulted him too, publicly shouting out his sins. The embarrassed mother decided to take her daughter to the sanctuary at Rocamadour, near Gascony, where she asked Holy Mary for help. Her prayer was heard, and the Virgin silenced the devil and cured the girl.

      11 CSM 84 SUICIDE OUT OF JEALOUSY, VIRGIN OF ROCAMADOUR Holy Mary raises a knight’s wife after hearing his prayers. The woman loved her husband more than her own life, and when he told her that he loved someone else more than her, she stabbed herself with a knife out of jealousy. He was referring to Holy Mary, to whom he was utterly devoted. Once the matter was explained, they both joined a religious order.

      12 CSM 147 THE SHEEP THAT SPOKE.
      The poetic value and form of this cantiga, told as a children’s story, make it a medieval narrative gem. A woman spent all her money on a lamb and gave it to a shepherd for good keeping. When the shearer arrived, the shepherd hid the lamb and told the woman that a wolf had eaten it. The distressed woman prayed to Our Lady of Rocamadour and the hidden sheep gave the thief away by bleating I’m over here”.

      1 CSM 195 THE TOURNAMENT.
      About a love that respects a damsel’s virginity, and the honour of an errant knight who respects the feast of Our Lady and dies in a joust. A young knight is on his way to a tournament when he comes across a most beautiful maiden whom he tries to seduce. She is not willing, but her father sells her honour. Her name is Mary, she fears for her virginity and is intent on keeping the Feast of Our Lady. The youth, on hearing this, changes his mind and sends her to the Monastery of St Clement of Toulouse. The knight dies in the tournament and a flower grows on his tomb. The maiden learns of his death through a vision of Holy Mary and goes with the Abbess to where the knight lies under a rose to give him a Christian burial

      2 CSM 78 THE COUNT OF TOULOUSE
      One of the count’s young servants was accused of speaking out against his master. The count ordered a large lime kiln to be prepared and told the lime burner to burn the young man when he arrived. The young man stopped on his way to hear Holy Mary’s mass. The count unknowingly sent the real culprit to check whether the young servant had been burned. After taking a short-cut he arrived first, and the lime burner threw him into the flames. When the young man arrived after Mass, the lime burner told him that the count's will had been done. When the count heard this, he wept and understood that this was the work of the Virgin.

      3 CSM 253 THE IRON STAFF.
      When a good Frenchman from Toulouse confessed his sins, he was told to make the pilgrimage to Santiago carrying an iron staff weighing 24 pounds as a penance. Doing this, he passed through Castile and in Vilasirga went to the church. When he asked the Virgin Mary to forgive his sins the staff miraculously broke in two before the altar of the Virgin. Those present were amazed and saw that the pilgrim could not move the pieces of the staff. When they heard the whole story, they understood that Holy Mary had relieved him of his penance, and they sang the Hail Holy Queen (Salve Regina). The man finished his pilgrimage to Santiago and returned home.

      4 CSM 208 THE HERETIC OF TOULOUSE.
      An Albigensian heretic from Toulouse took communion in order to go unnoticed at Easter, drinking the wine without swallowing the Body of Christ. He took the host home and put it in a beehive. When the time came to collect the honey, he opened the beehive and was surprised to find the image of the Virgin with her Son accompanied by a delicious scent. He converted there and then and went to the bishop to confess this miracle. All the faithful gathered in a procession and amidst praise for the Virgin they moved the chapel from the beehive to the cathedral.

      5 CSM-123 THE DOCTOR OF MONTPELLIER.
      A miracle located in Vitoria. When a friar, who had joined the order as a child, was dying, his expression showed a dreadful fear of passing to the afterlife. Another friar lit a candle to the Virgin for him. The dying man’s face turned from black to white without the aid of a “doctor of Montpellier”. After his death, the friar appeared before his fellow monks and pointed out that the candle, a sign of the Virgin Mary, made the demons flee, and thus he found peace.

      6 CSM 193 THE MERCHANT IN THE TUNISIAN CRUSADE.
      Robbery and murder thwarted by the intervention of the Virgin Mary. A merchant on one of the navy ships that carried St Louis IX, King of France, in the crusade against the Moors of Tunis, was attacked by soldiers who robbed him and threw him into the sea. The Virgin responded to his pleas and spread her white mantle so that he would not drown. Another ship rescued him, and the criminals were brought to justice when they reached port. The eighth crusade left from Aigues-Mortes in July 1270.

      7 CSM-318 THE SILVER CROSS.
      Holy Mary punishes a cleric in his church at Hita, a stronghold in the kingdom of Toledo, after he stole the silver from a cross to give it to a woman. Liar that he was, he then begged the Virgin for a miracle and for God’s wrath for the thief. The cleric was suddenly blinded, and his face was deformed as a sign to those who try to make fun of God and his Mother.

      8 CSM 98 THE CLOSED DOOR IN VAUVERT.
      The symbolic value of the closed door in the liturgy. This miracle took place at Our Lady of Vauvert, near Montpellier. A sinful woman went to pray in the church, but the Virgin Mary would not allow her to enter. The woman could not open the door through which others entered without difficulty, until she repented and confessed the error of her ways.

      9 CSM 256 • QUEEN BEATRICE.
      Cantiga about the healing of Queen Beatrice of Swabia, mother of Alfonso X. During the conquest of Capilla, Badajoz, in 1227, Fernando III sent his wife, Beatrice, to live in Cuenca, as she was nearing the end of a pregnancy. There she fell ill and not even the good doctors of Montpellier thought she would live. However, kissing the hands and feet of the image of the Virgin Mary saved her from her ills. The image in question is the Virgin of the See, which years later Alfonso X gave to the cathedral in Seville.

      10 CSM 204 ST DOMINIC’S ARCHDEACON.
      On hearing the prayer of St. Dominic of Guzman, founder of the Order of Preachers, in Toulouse in 1215, Holy Mary cured a very learned archdeacon suffering from a serious illness. Pain prevented the archdeacon from sleeping and the doctors did not know how to cure him. The Virgin Mary appeared to the sick man anointing his head, body and feet. St Dominic saw how the archdeacon was anointed and cured, and so said a prayer of thanksgiving. The tradition locates the miracle in Beziers.

      11 CSM 112 THE SHIP LOADED WITH WHEAT.
      Sailors from Colliure in the Roussillon Pyrenees abandoned their ship loaded with flour to save themselves during a storm. When they saw the ship fill with water, they asked Our Lady for help. On reaching port in the lifeboats, they discovered that the ship and the flour were saved, and so praised the Virgin Mary.

      12 CSM 365 THE MONASTERY OF FONTFROIDE IN NARBONNE.
      A novice monk at Fontfroide monastery in the archbishopric of Narbonne thought that the soul was nothing more than a vanishing wind. He decided to do whatever he liked and started indulging in vices. One night he escaped from the monastery, but the Virgin appeared to him in a vision showing him angels carrying the soul of a good man to heaven. She told him that this would not happen to him because he did not believe in the soul. The repentant monk returned to his dormitory and lived humbly with his order.

      Tracklist hide

      hide CD 1
      • 1.CSM 153 ON A PILGRIMAGE SEATED IN A CHAIR03:21
      • 2.CSM 331 A BOY AND HIS MOTHER IN ROCAMADOUR05:17
      • 3.CSM 159 THE JOINT OF MEAT03:22
      • 4.CSM 62 THE CHILD LEFT AS A PLEDGE07:36
      • 5.CSM 175 THE HANGED PILGRIM04:22
      • 6.CSM 157 THE FLOUR OF THE ROCAMADOUR PILGRIMS02:54
      • 7.CSM 158 A KNIGHT IMPRISONED09:01
      • 8.CSM 217 THE FRENCH COUNT03:38
      • 9.CSM 214 KNIGHT, DICE, TEMPLE09:28
      • 10.CSM 343 THE MAID FROM CAHORS02:58
      • 11.CSM 84 SUICIDE OUT OF JEALOUSY, VIRGIN OF ROCAMADOUR
      • 12.CSM 147 THE SHEEP THAT SPOKE
      • Total:51:57
      more CD 2
      • 1.CSM 195 THE TOURNAMENT10:36
      • 2.CSM 78 THE COUNT OF TOULOUSE03:47
      • 3.CSM 253 THE IRON STAFF06:42
      • 4.CSM 208 THE HERETIC OF TOULOUSE02:15
      • 5.CSM-123 THE DOCTOR OF MONTPELIER08:20
      • 6.CSM 193 THE MERCHANT IN THE TUNISIAN CRUSADE03:47
      • 7.CSM-318 THE SILVER CROSS06:41
      • 8.CSM 98 THE CLOSED DOOR IN VAUVERT03:34
      • 9.CSM-256 QUEEN BEATRICE07:37
      • 10.CSM 204 ST.DOMINIC’S ARCHDEACON03:24
      • 11.CSM 112 THE SHIP LOADED WITH WHEAT05:40
      • 12.CSM 365 THE MONASTERY OF FONTFROIDE IN NARBONNE
      • Total:01:02:23