Reading Heaven’s Book – Program Notes

Until the beginning of the 20th century the people outside of urban centers looked at the sky to obtain valuable information: stars, winds, clouds, meteorological phenomena, the birds’ flight, the sun’s and moon’s light and position. Crucial decisions about life and death depended upon the capacity of reading these sings. 

The ability to predict the weather, to navigate with the stars, to differentiate the winds’ direction was always the key for community survival. These were the criteria to harvest, to plant, to travel, to undertake special activities, to find a place, to choose a path, to make a pilgrimage, to pray, to beg…

Cantaderas bring to life some of the remains of this close relationship between humans and the atmospheric elements with two different repertoires, connecting medieval Gregorian chant and the traditional Spanish music from the beginning of the 20th century. 

In her 13th century writings on cosmology Hildegard von Bingen says: “the firmament contains fire, the sun, the moon, the stars and the winds, all these elements hold it and prevent it from being reduced to nothing, like it would happen to a person without bones”. The sky in the Middle Ages was both firm and dynamic; therefore the program is conceived in two parts. The first one is dedicated to the perpetual part of the firmament, the stars and cardinal points. The second one is dedicated to the ones in motion, the winds and rain.

The stars and the cardinal points, winds and clouds will be revealed throughout this program, in the religious texts as well as secular, coming from the most ancient written tradition (Responsorys, Antiphons and Tracts) as well as from the most perennial oral tradition (songs greeting the dawn, rogations songs asking for the rain, serenades, wedding songs).

Texto en ESPAÑOL