Enea Sorini (voice, psaltery, naqqara, tambourine) | Peppe Frana (oud, citole)

Musical witnesses for the Crusades have come down to us from at least two generations of troubadours and trouvères who dedicated a part of their poetic production to describing the momentous experience of ‘armed pilgrimage’; indeed, some of them personally took up the cross, thereby delivering a partial but nevertheless precious glimpse into the significance of this historical phenomenon and its enormous social, military and anthropological repercussions. The repertoire presented in this programme offers an overview of the main motifs that one typically encounters in Crusade songs: military exhortations and praise for the leaders of Christendom, but also torment for leaving behind one’s country and loved ones.

As a contemporary philosopher reminds us, there never was a war without poets: the blind and bestial fury of man against man requires the evocation of an irrational and transcendent dimension—it needs the singing of the epic poet (a figure that, not surprisingly, Plato thought should be exiled from the polis). The centuries-long sequence of the Crusades is no exception, and, if on the one hand these events represent the regrettable (re-)invention of colonial and religious war, on the other hand thanks to the human experience of those who took part in them we can mirror ourselves in the exaltation, the existential dismay and the meditations of these men, so far from us and yet so similar to us—at least as a stark reminder that no war ever was, nor ever will be, holy.

Peppe Frana

Supported by the Centre for Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, NUI Galway

PalästinaliedWalther von der Vogelweide, c. 1170 – c. 123
La Septime Estampie Real Anonymous, Manuscrit Du Roi - BnF fr.844 – 13th century
Ahi, amours, com dure departieConon de Béthune, c. 1150 - c.1219/1220
La Quinte Estampie RealAnonymous, Manuscrit Du Roi - BnF fr.844 – 13th century
Consiros, com partis d’amorAimeric de Belenoi, c. 1215–1242
Karitatz et amorGuiraut Riquier, Narbonne, c. 1230 – 1292
La Seconde Estampie RealAnonymous, Manuscrit Du Roi - BnF fr.844 – 13th century
Pax! In nomine DominiMarcabru, 12th century
Chevalier, mult estes guarizAnonymous, 12th century
Twishya al hiyaz al mashriqiAndalusian anonymous, 13th century