The Pilgrimage to Santiago

The Pilgrimage to Santiago
New London Consort - Philip Pickett
L'Oiseau Lyre 433 148 [CDx2]
L'Oiseau Lyre 475 9103 [CDx2]


    Navarre and Castile

    Alfonso el Sabio: Cantigas de Santa Maria
  1. CSM 103: Quen a Virgen ben servira

  2. Las Huelgas MS
  3. Belial vocatur / Tenor
  4. Surrexit de tumulo

  5. Alfonso el Sabio: Cantigas de Santa Maria
  6. CSM 26: Non e gran causa

  7. Las Huelgas MS
  8. Ex illustri
  9. Alpha bovi / Domino
  10. 4 Planctus
  11. Verbum bonum et suave
  12. Agnus Dei / Regula moris
  13. Fa fa mi fa / Ut re mi ut

  14. Codex Calixtinus
  15. Dum pater familias
  16. Léon and Galicia

    Alfonso el Sabio: Cantigas de Santa Maria
  17. CSM 253: De grad'a Santa Maria

  18. Codex Calixtinus
  19. Annua gaudia

  20. Alfonso el Sabio: Cantigas de Santa Maria
  21. CSM 49: Ben com'aos

  22. Codex Calixtinus
  23. Regi perennis

  24. Alfonso el Sabio: Cantigas de Santa Maria
  25. CSM 159: Non sofre Santa Maria
    CSM 175: Por dereito ten a Virgen

  26. Codex Calixtinus
  27. Nostra phalanx

  28. Alfonso el Sabio: Cantigas de Santa Maria
  29. CSM 184: A Madre de Deus

  30. Codex Calixtinus
  31. Congaudeant catholici

  32. Martin Codax
  33. 7 Cantigas de amigo

  34. Codex Calixtinus
  35. Dum pater familias

El Escorial Real Monasterio de El Escorial b.1.2
El Escorial Real Monasterio de El Escorial T.j.1
Madrid Biblioteca Nacional 10069
Burgos Codex de las Huelgas
Santiago Biblioteca de la Catedral Codex Calixtinus
La Siete Canciones de Amor, ed. Vindel Madrid 1915 (Facsimile)

New London Consort
Voice: Catherine Bott (soprano), Tessa Bonner (soprano), Olive Simpson (soprano), Jacqueline Baron (soprano), Julia Gooding (soprano), Ana-Maria Rincon (soprano), Jenevora Williams (mezzo-soprano), Catherine King (mezzo-soprano), Kristine Szulik (alto), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Michael George (baritone), Stephen Charlesworth (baritone), Robert Evans (baritone), Simon Grant (bass)
Instruments: Tom Finucane (lute, gittern), Paula Chateauneuf (lute, gittern), Hannelore Devaere (harp), Rachel Hamilton (harp), Philip Pickett (psaltery, symphony, recorder, tambourine), Andrew Cronshaw (zither), Pavlo Beznosiuk (5-string fiddle), Giles Lewin (5-string fiddle), Peter Syrus (5-string fiddle), Carla Mastandreas (5-string fiddle), Mairi Campbell (5-string fiddle), Mark Levy (3-string "8 shape" fiddle), Suzanna Pell (3-string "8 shape" fiddle), Sarah Groser (3-string "8 shape" fiddle), Richard Boothby (3-string "8 shape" fiddle), Mary Remnant / William Lyons (organistrum, recorder), David Roblou (organ), Stephen Henderson (bells, nakers, thilat, tabor), Frank Rixotti (tabor, tambourine)
Philip Pickett, dir.

Playing time: 53' 45" + 72' 35" = 126' 25"

Recording date: Temple Church, London, November 1989
Rel.: 1991, 2007

Reviewed in:
Diapason (#-p.): 557 - 81 (April 2008)

This CD set show all the variety of the music which was sung during the pilgrimage to Santiago. Pickett chose pieces from various manuscripts (MS): Las Huelgas, Escorial, Codex Calixtinus and Martim Codax MSs. Among them the Las Huelgas MS is the most used, and the Escorial MS proposes the longest pieces. Dynamic and rhythm are the main words coming to mind to characterize this set. Even the first track of the second CD (more than 15 minutes!), very repetitive, is here rendered with such a lively interpretation that it's never boring - try it on your trip from work to home, it's done for that. Catherine Bott in this same work contributes, as well as in the rest of the discs, to the energy and the pleasure that we feel. Pickett himself (introduction of track 3, 2nd disc) scatters the songs from his agility with his recorder. A very good set, oscillating sometimes between Munrow and Binkley for the ideas, but engaged and bringing to life the pilgrim. Highly recommandable.

Bruno Cornec

As mentioned above, this set illustrates a wide range of Spanish music from the era, focusing especially on the Latin works.

The Las Huelgas Codex, preserved in Burgos (Spain) and presumably compiled by the Las Huelgas Cisterian convent between 1300 and 1325, is one of the most important medieval manuscripts. It contains a wide variety of Latin polyphonic styles (including such things as copies of works by Notre Dame composers like Perotin), along pieces of a more distinctive Spanish flavor. A good introductory recording to the variety of music in that manuscript:

Codex Las Huelgas
Music from 13th Century Spain
Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel
Sony Vivarte 53341

Other recordings from this manuscript are mentioned in the above file.

The Codex Calixtinus is one of the earliest source for 2-voice polyphony, and was brought to Spain for the Pilgrimage. A major dedicated recording:

Vox Iberica I: Donnersöhne - Sons of Thunder
Music for St. James the Apostle: Codex Calixtinus
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77199

A closely related program by the present ensemble:

Llibre Vermell de Montserrat
Pilgrim Songs & Dances
New London Consort - Philip Pickett
L'Oiseau Lyre 433 186

Other major programs by the present ensemble which derive from the same era:

Carmina Burana
New London Consort - Philip Pickett
L'Oiseau Lyre 443 143 (4 CDs; mid-price)
Plainchant Visitatio
Easter Dramas of Cividale
New London Consort - Philip Pickett
L'Oiseau Lyre 455 489

Recordings on this theme in different styles:

In the Steps of St James
A Medieval Pilgrim's Journey to Santiago
Ensemble für frühe Musik Augsburg
Christophorus 77264
Sur les Chemins de Saint-Jacques
Ensemble Amadis
Jade 64760
Las Músicas de los Caminos de Santiago
Conjunto Pro Música de Rosario - Cristián Hernández Larguía
Saint-Jacques de Compostelle
Le Chemin de Compostelle
Suisa 840
Europa Siglos XV-XVI
Resonet - Fernando Reyes
Boanerges 2022
Pilgrimage to Santiago
A capella choral music from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Centuries
The Monteverdi Choir - John Eliot Gardiner
Soli Deo Gloria 701

A program devoted specifically to music of the Galician troubadour Martin Codax (fl.c.1230) as represented in the present citation by CD2 item #9:

Cantigas de Amigo
Ensemble Alcatraz / Kitka
Dorian 90285

Finally, another recording illustrating some of the variety of style in Spanish music of the period:

Magnificentia Iberica - Music of Medieval Spain
Florata - Tim Rayborn
AS&V Gaudeamus 144

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Todd M. McComb