Pillar of Wisdom

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Pillar of Wisdom (Cantigas de Santa Maria Vol IV)

The Renaissance Players
Directed by Winsome Evans

The Renaissance Players, directed by Winsome Evans, was founded 48 years ago at the University of Sydney. It has a nucleus of nine to ten musicians (singers and instrumentalists) which is varied according to the needs of particular performances. In addition, the group contains a poetry reader, and one or two miming clowns. The Renaissance Players has established itself as the most accomplished and widely known professional early music group in Australia. Their sense of musical style, colourful costuming, technical ability and vital presentation are their landmark qualities.

These two CDs are volumes IV and V of the Cantigas de Santa Maria as recorded by The Renaissance Players. The Cantigas are mediaeval manuscripts written in mediaeval Galician-Portuguese during the reign of Alfonso X “El Sabio” (1221-1284). The collection consists of 420 poems with musical notation and is the largest collections of songs from the Middle Ages. The Virgin Mary is mentioned in every song, which shows her playing an important role in earthly matters.

Pillar of Wisdom (Cantigas de Santa Maria, Volume IV) is dedicated to the late Kathleen Kulp Hill, from the school of mediaeval Romance languages at the University of Kentucky, USA. Gabriel's Message (Cantigas de Santa Maria, Volume V) is dedicated to the late Gough Whitlam, the revered former Prime Minister of Australia and strong supporter of the arts.


1. Gran fe devia om’ aver (C. 187)
2. Entre Av’ e Eva (C. 60)
3. Ben com’ aos que van per mar (C. 49)
4. A madre do que livrou (C. 4)
5. Gran dereit e que fill’ o demo (C. 34)
6. Muito foi noss’ amigo (C. 210)
7. Mais non faz Santa Maria (C. 3)
8. Non deve null’ ome (C. 50)
9. A madre do que a bestia (C. 147)
10. A madre de Deus (C. 184)