Alfonso X “el Sabio” (1221 – 1284)

Video: Cantiga(CSM) 156 – Musica Ficta & Ensemble Fontegara

Alfonso X “el Sabio” (1221 – 1284)

Alfonso X “el Sabio (the wise)” (1221-1284) was crowned King of Castile & León in 1252, and became one of the most significant leaders in Spanish history. Known for his learning, he fostered interaction between Christian, Jewish, and Islamic intellectuals, as well as accepted Provençal refugees. His was one of the significant reigns moving toward the reunification of Spain, and was so with an emphasis on tolerance and cultural achievement. Alfonso’s work touched nearly every area of human activity, from science to political reform. His only weakness may have been the impracticality of some of his nobler ideas. The extent of Alfonso’s role in the production of the Cantigas de Santa María is not entirely known. He conceived and supervised the compilation, and it appears that at least some texts are his. Whether he wrote any of the music is unknown, but many of the songs in the collection are certainly contrafacta. Some melodies have been identified as those of troubadour or trouvère songs, and even those of conducti or other scholastic compositions. It is also believed that many are folk tunes adopted for the occasion. The entire project seems to have had a moralistic intent, modifying the words of existing songs to describe instead the deeds & glory of the Virgin Mary.

Taken from www.medieval.org

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