The 43rd annual Christmas Revels in celebration of the winter solstice
at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre | December 13-27, 2013
directed by Patrick Swanson · George Emelen, music director
Jack Kerouac, in his beat novel On the Road, was not the first to acknowledge that the journey can be every bit as interesting and significant as the destination. As an existential theme in human life, the journey is perhaps the most obsessively referenced source for philosophers, novelists, playwrights, composers, poets, psychologists, teachers and all manner of religious instructors. The structure is appealing – a journey demands a beginning, a middle and an end, just like life, and just about every culture throughout history has adopted some version of the theme.
A particularly overt example of the structure is the late15th-century morality play Everyman, which uses the journey from birth to death to offer common-sense advice on, amongst other things, keeping your books in order, choosing your companions, putting a value on your actions, and achieving salvation. In the 18th century, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress developed this theme with the central character reborn as "Christian," who is subject to an even more detailed moral advice than Everyman as to how to survive the perils and temptations of the world and secure admission to the "heavenly city." Alternatively, Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales has an entirely different tone. Like Jack Kerouac he had the insight to use the structure to examine the personalities of the pilgrims themselves, giving us a generous cross section of life in the 14th century in all its sweaty and entertaining detail.
In a uniquely Spanish iteration of the theme, Cervantes gave us Don Quixote, the iconic “sad knight” riding out on his quest with his faithful squire Sancho Panza by his side and an image of his muse Dulcinea clutched to his breast. After a series of adventures in which he tilts at windmills and battles imaginary enemies, Don Quixote, at the end of the road, must pitch his romantic idealism against the cold reality of the Mirror Knight in a fight to the death.
In the realm of psychology, Carl Jung places the concept of the Quest in a prominent place in the hierarchy of psychological archetypes. The story of the hero engaged in an epic journey overcoming a series of obstacles in order to achieve his destiny has been a familiar theme throughout history from Greek myth to the action movies that are the big revenue earners in Hollywood today.
Pilgrimage is a refined version of the theme in which the purpose of the journey is to attain some form of enlightenment. In the 1400’s, Compostela was the most popular destination for pilgrims after Rome and the Holy Land. Since then the Camino has inspired hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and travelers to walk “The Way.” After a period of relative obscurity, there is currently a revival of interest in the pilgrimage, and in the summer months the route is well populated with travelers of every persuasion making the journey on foot, on bicycle and on horseback. The 33rd (and last) station of the Camino is the cathedral town of Santiago de Compostela in the heart of the Galician countryside. Upon entering the cathedral the pilgrims traditionally approach a stone column and place a hand into the deeply worn indent created by the thousands of hands that preceded them. Next they ritually bang their heads against a sculpture of San Matteo, the architect of the cathedral, in order to receive his knowledge and wisdom before ascending the steps to the tomb of Santiago and completing their journey.
For some, however, there is another stage. Galicia has a strong Celtic heritage and for the Celts and the itinerant Roma (the Gypsy people whose culture has so influenced Spain) there is a coda to the Christian pilgrimage, a road from Santiago to the coastal village of Finisterre – “the end of the earth.” Here there is a lighthouse dating to the Roman empire and the remnants of a temple dedicated to Ara Solis, the sun god. Here, in the Pagan view of the world, the sun, after traversing the heavens, ended his journey in a fiery descent into the underworld, before rising in the East and beginning the journey all over again.
Patrick Swanson, 2013
Music of the Camino
“Barbarians and people who live in all corners of the earth come to this place, fulfilling their vows in thanksgiving to God and taking away with them the rewards of their prayers.” (from the Codex Calixtinus, 12th century)
The remarkable document known as the Codex Calixtinus bears witness to the enormous historical popularity of the Way of St. James, the medieval pilgrimage route traveled by countless European pilgrims – whether devout Christians or “barbarians” (non-believers). The Codex, an early version of our modern tour guides, offers both spiritual guidance and down-to-earth advice to all those who would undertake the arduous pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Most importantly, it includes a valuable set of chants and polyphonic music, much of it in veneration of St. James, along with vivid descriptions of performances. This strongly suggests that Compostela pilgrims were exposed to, and even participated in, a range of high-quality vocal and instrumental music. One passage depicts a large ensemble of singers and players celebrating the feast day of St. James in the cathedral, including flutes, fiddles, shawms, trumpets and drums. What an impressive welcome this must have been for weary pilgrims. As if to corroborate this Codex account, a magnificent façade at the west entry of the Santiago Cathedral portrays 24 white-robed and golden-crowned “elders,” all holding different musical instruments. Even though the passage from the Book of Revelations on which this scene is based clearly states the elders all held citharas (harps), the 12th-century sculptor exercised his artistic license by giving them instruments such as fiddle, psaltery, harp, organ, recorder, pipe and tabor, shawm, crumhorn and, at the top of the arch, a two-man hurdy-gurdy.
In complete contrast to these sacred works, we also find in the Codex Calixtinus seven intimate and sensuous love songs by the troubadour Martín Códax in which a young woman sits on a hillside overlooking the ocean, imploring the sea to return her lover. These extraordinary Cantigas de Amigo are among the earliest examples of secular music in Europe. It is easy to imagine that our pilgrims heard and even learned to sing these beguiling songs in their travels.
In addition to these historical testaments pointing to the importance music on the Camino, we have a fascinating 13th-century musical and pictorial collection called the Cantigas de Santa Maria. Many of these 420 hymns to the Virgin Mary tell of miracles – some of them occurring along the Camino – in which she invariably intercedes in human foibles and astounds us with wondrous acts. The Cantigas were written in Galician, which at the time was the favorite language of Spanish lyric poets, and are significant for being the earliest surviving manuscript in the Galician language.
Today there is a new wave of pilgrims on the Road to Compostela, and they are sure to hear a rich mix of music as they make their way westward along the Camino, just as their 13th-century counterparts did. In the taverns and on the streets they will hear the ubiquitous gaita as it accompanies a lively dance or leads a procession for a local festival. In the village churches they can hear some of the rich sacred Spanish choral music from ages past. And when they arrive at their ultimate destination, if their timing is good, they will stand in awe to hear the ethereal voices of the Santiago Cathedral choir intoning a Renaissance motet or a spirited Baroque villancico.
We too, in our 2013 Christmas Revels, are on a musical journey through an ever-changing landscape. Like the distinctive pasaporte stamps (seen throughout this program book) representing stops along the way, each musical piece offers a fresh and distinctive experience. The music of the Camino continues to this day to be as appealing and compelling as ever. The pilgrim – even the barbarian – who takes the time to listen will return home with a heart full of song, a soul renewed and a life changed forever.
George W. Emlen, 2013
Jay O'Callahan, Billy Meleady, Angélica Aragón, Henry Bassett, David Coffin – songleader
The Pilgrim Band
Christa Patton — gaita, harp, recorder, shawm
Salomé Sandoval — voice, guitar
David Coffin — voice, recorder, shawm
Laura Gulley — violin
John Browne — guitar
Emily Troll — accordion
Joshua Schreiber Shalem — viola da gamba
James Mailhot — bass clarinet
The Coro de Compostela
Liz Adams, Adam Bailey*, Sabine Bartlett, Cynthia Bencal, Nat Coolidge, Tamsen W. Evans Chelsea Rose Funk Shenker*, Alexander Hall*, Jonny Hankins, Amy Horsburgh, Simon Horsburgh, Jamie Jaffe*, Lucas Cmok Kehoe, Christopher Lewis*, James Mailhot, Sarah K. May*, Andres Molano Sotomayor, Mary Neumann, John B. Newhall, Jake Nunes, Jennie O'Brien*, Meghan Ann O'Connell*, Haris Papamichael*, Nell Pepper, Jessica Raine, Carolyn Ramm, Ana Rito, Michael Roper, Jenna Rounds, Daniel Sheldon*, Nora Susana Sotomayor, Sara Molano Sotomayor, David W. Torrey*, Martin Tulloch, Anneliese Vogt*, Gerard Vogt*
(* Finisterre Dancers)
The Niños Del Camino
Ilaria Rose Bardini, Clio Bildman, Amelia Keenan, Liam Cmok Kehoe, Macy Maurer Levin, Maggie MacPhail, Séamus McGlennon, Luis McGuill-Scott*, Sophie O'Keefe, John Recroft*, Ian Roper, Jane Rounds, Lily Sills, Marian Rookey, Shana Wolckenhaar, Jordan Young, (*Boy Archer, alternating)
Liz Adams — Presenter | Martin Tulloch — Turkey Knight | Jake Nunes — Dragon | Simon Horsburgh — Mirror Knight
The Pinewoods Morris Men (rotating)
Jamie Beaton, Jerry Callen, Mike Chase, David Conant Bill Cronin, Michael Friedman, Fred Gerhard, Shag Graetz, Alex Groher-Jick, Dan Groher, Peter Kruskal, Tom Kruskal, Joe Kynoch, Justin Morrison, Mel Novner, Chris O'Brien, Dave Overbeck, Sam Overbeck, Steve Roderick, Greg Skidmore, Nathaniel Smith, Brian Wilson
Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble
Ken Pullig — trumpet
Greg Hopkins — trumpet
Richard Hudson — horn
Philip Swanson — trombone
Greg Fritze — tuba
Abe Finch — timpani & percussion
Stage Director: Patrick Swanson | Music Director: George Emlen | Set Design: Jeremy Barnett | Costume Design: Heidi A. Hermiller | Lighting Design: Jeff Adelberg | Sound Design: Bill Winn | Choreography: Gillian Stewart | Puppets: Sara Peattie | Children’s Music Director: George Emlen | Assistant Music Director: Mary Neumann
Program Notes: George Emlen & Patrick Swanson with Gillian Stewart & Steve Roderick.
Script written by Patrick Swanson.
All musical arrangements by George Emlen except where noted.
Full texts and translations can be found at Revels.org
The Road to Compostela
x — CD
X. NAME — concerts
26. HYMN OF THE ANCIENT GALICIAN KINGDOM
Christa Patton & Daniel Meyers, gaitas · Abe Finch, snare drum ·Jonathan Hankins, bass drum
This stirring march is like a second national anthem for many Galicians.
24. ¡FUM, FUM, FUM!
The Niños del Camino · The Coro de Compostela · Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble
Also known as “Veinticinco de Diciembre” (The 25th of December) in Spanish, this 16th-century Catalan carol is widely known throughout the world. Arranged here by George Emlen.
11. A BELÉN VINDE PASTORES (COME TO BETHLEHEM, SHEPHERDS)
Salomé Sandoval, voice & Baroque guitar · Daniel Meyers, castanets · Abe Finch, tambourine
This distinctly Galician carol comes to us by way of singer Mercedes Hernández and the Galician early music ensemble Resonet, based in Santiago de Compostela.
The Niños del Camino · The Coro de Compostela · The Pilgrim Band
In Galicia, Three Kings’ Day (Epiphany) is celebrated with festivity and pageantry. It is thought that the Reis Magos (Wise Men) bring gifts for children, so the holiday is much anticipated. Aguinaldo here refers to the custom of giving bonuses and gifts at this time of year and has similar versions in other countries.
10. PASODOBRE DE MALLOU
The Finisterre Dancers · Christa Patton & Daniel Meyers, gaitas · Abe Finch & Jonathan Hankins, percussion
The pasodobre (or pasodoble in Spanish) is a “double step” dance that has its origins in the music played at bullfights. Although these kinds of close partner dances have become common in Galicia only in the past few centuries, the pilgrims on El Camino would have brought dances from throughout southwestern Europe, including Spanish-style couple dances such as this. Mallou is a town in the westernmost part of Galicia.
9. A RIANXEIRA
David Coffin · The Niños del Camino · The Coro de Compostela · The Pilgrim Band
An important Galician tradition in the coastal town of Rianxo is the annual procession and festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, who is said to walk the beaches near the town. The custom of venerating the Virgin of Guadalupe, one of three Black Madonnas in Spain, originated in Extremadura in western Spain and is also observed in Mexico and the Philippines. The words to the song were written in Buenos Aires by Xésus Fiero, based on many different 19th-century Galician folk songs celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe. The music was composed by Anxo Romero in 1947. Born in Rianxo, Romero is one of a significant Galician emigrant population around the world. The song, invariably sung at events and parties throughout Galicia, has taken on a symbolic role for all Galician people, both at home and abroad, especially with its strong maritime theme.
31. ONDAS DO MAR DE VIGO (WAVES OF THE SEA OF VIGO)
Jamie Jaffe · The Pilgrim Band
In addition to a large quantity of religious poetry written in the 13th century in old Galician, much secular poetry from that time has been preserved as well. This love poem by Martín Códax is one of the most famous of the genre.
7. A LA NANITA NANA
The Niños del Camino · The Pilgrim Band
A well-known Spanish lullaby. The English verse is by Fred Goff.
12. ¡ AY, CÓMO SUENA LA GAYTA GALLEGA! (OH, HOW IT SOUNDS, THE GALICIAN BAGPIPE)
David Coffin & Salomé Sandoval · The Coro de Compostela · The Pilgrim Band
This boisterous villancico (carol) was written by the Catalan Baroque composer Juan Barter (c. 1648–1706). The carol glorifies the Galician bagpipe and tells of the pleasure it gives all Galician people, perhaps even delighting the infant Jesus as well.
2. ALBORADA DE VEIGA
Christa Patton & Daniel Meyers, gaitas · Abe Finch & Jonathan Hankins, percussion · Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble
An alborada is a “dawn song,” usually played on the gaita as the first piece of music to start a holiday or festive occasion. Composed by Pascual Veiga in 1880, the piece has attained an iconic status among Galician people.
4. MUIÑEIRA DE CHANTADA
The Finisterre Dancers · Christa Patton, gaita · The Pilgrim Band
A muiñeira is a lively traditional Galician tune in 6/8 time. This one is in every gaitero’s repertoire. The quintessential Galician folk dance, a muiñeira is led by the first man, who chooses the steps as he goes. Chantada is a town in central Galicia.
13. ESTA NOITE DE NATALE (ON THIS JOYOUS CHRISTMAS NIGHT)
Salomé Sandoval, voice & Baroque guitar · Christa Patton, harp
A villancico from the singing of Mercedes Hernández of the Galician ensemble Resonet. “By the time Joseph returned from searching for firewood, Mary had already given birth.”
8. CAROL OF THE BIRDS
The Niños del Camino · The Coro de Compostela · The Pilgrim Band
Christmas song from Catalonia (“El Cant dels Ocells” in Catalan), made famous around the world by cellist Pablo Casals. Our English translation is the one by Joan Baez from her Christmas recording Noël.
18. OS REIS DO CAUREL (THE KINGS OF CAUREL)
Salomé Sandoval · Las Damas de Compostela
Galician lullaby arranged for women’s voices by Shira Kammen of California Revels, from the singing of Maite Dono. “From village to village go the Kings, singing,” goes the refrain.
19. ALBORADA DE OURENSE
Christa Patton & Daniel Meyers, gaitas · Abe Finch, snare drum · Jonathan Hankins, bass drum · The Finisterre Dancers
Another “dawn song.” The city of Ourense, in south-central Galicia, is known for its hot springs and gold in Roman times. Here, the monks welcome the pilgrims with a playful send-up line dance created from steps from traditional Portuguese, Italian, French, Spanish, and German dances.
28. NADAL DE LUINTRA (LUINTRA NATIVITY)
The Coro de Compostela · The Pilgrim Band
A Galician version of the posadas ritual, reenacted in Mexico and other Latin countries, in which Mary and Joseph are turned away as they seek shelter for the night but are finally recognized and welcomed in. In this version Mary consoles her anxious husband Joseph with the promise of the new life she is carrying in her womb. Luintra is in southern Galicia in province of Ourense.
Christa Patton, harp · Salomé Sandoval, Baroque guitar
This graceful dance form, similar to a sarabande, was popular among European Baroque era composers. Our version blends a harp piece by Lucas Ruiz de Ribayaz with one for guitar by Gaspar Sanz. The harp-guitar combination was a very common pairing at the time.
30. REY A QUIEN REYES ADORAN (KING WHOM KINGS ADORE)
Salomé Sandoval & David Coffin · The Coro de Compostela · The Pilgrim Band · Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble
An anonymous Spanish villancico from the 16th century, published in Cançionero de Upsala. The famous botafumiero (incense-burner) in the cathedral at Santiago is over six feet tall.
27. SANTA MARÍA, STRELA DO DÍA (SAINT MARY, STAR OF GOD)
The Coro de Compostela · The Pilgrim Band
The Cantigas de Santa Maria is a collection of 420 songs, with musical notation, of praise and wondrous tales relating to the Virgin Mary, written in Galician-Portuguese during the reign of Alfonso X “El Sabio” (The Wise), king of Castile, León and Galicia during the 13th century.
33. EN BELÉN NACEU UN NENO (IN BETHLEHEM A BABE WAS BORN)
Salomé Sandoval, voice and Baroque guitar · The Coro de Compostela · The Pilgrim Band
A Galician villancico from the singing of Mercedes Hernández and Resonet.
3. TRAVELERS’ CAROL
The Coro de Compostela · The Niños del Camino · Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble
A traditional Catalan carol, arranged by George Emlen with English words by Susan Cooper.