More than 15,000 compositions are directed to Mary. Still living more than 2 millennia after the first references to her, she lives on today even outside the church, like in Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegone "our lady of perpetual responsibility." http://contactphonenumber.co.uk/
Sally Cunneen explains Mary's significance from various historical views and religious traditions. We borrow points of reference from her book, and use them as subtitles paralleling the four texts of our musical exploration. "Mary is essentially a human being with attributes of the holy: an aqueduct of God's grace, a mediator of human imperfection, a symbol of strength and creative faithfulness, and embodiment of the wonder of the unity of the holy and the human."
We open our concert singing "Ave maris stella" a rhythmic and partially rhymed text dating from the 8th century. The second theme is "Alma redemptoris mater", widely known in medieval times and usually sung nightly, beginning the first Sunday of Advent; a time in the liturgical year after God has touched earth through Mary, while the world waits with her for the wonderment of nature to take its course. The text dates from 12th century Germany. Third, "Magnificat", an ancient Byzantine canticle (nonmetrical song) sung daily at vespers, text dating from 9th century, is performed in several versions. Last is the motet (choral composition on a religious text) "O magnum mysterium". The text dates from the 8th century sung on Christmas Day.
c e l e s t i a l Sirens and Early Music Vermont produce finely tuned and blended harmonies from ancient times. Come hear medieval chant, rennaissance carols, and baroque selections. Many are performed a cappella and others are accompanied with recorders, crumhorns, viola and harp.
In April 2001, c e l e s t i a l Sirens performed on Garrison Keillor's popular radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, as national finalists chosen from over 650 entries in the Talent from Towns Under Two Thousand Contest.
Early Music Vermont, established in 1999, provides opportunities for the study and performance of early music. c e l e s t i a l Sirens is its main performing ensemble. Programs include: Carols through the Millennium Music of Women through the Millennium Winter's Light: Marian songs, chants and carols Love's Inspiration, Darkness, Peace & Light, and Divine Inspiration: Variations on four sacred themes.
Information: www.earlymusicvermont.org or call 802-453-3016.