Capella de Ministrers
Carles Magraner

Capella de Ministrers
Carles Magraner

Monday, 24 July 2023.
19:30 St John Church


Èlia Casanova, voice
Beatriz Lafont, voice
Laia Blasco, voice
Maria Morellà, voice
Robert Cases, harp
Carles Magraner, vielle

Procession of the Religious Sisters of the Sacred, Sovereign, and Illustrious Military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (14th-15th century). Music and liturgy in a noble female monastery: the Royal Monastery of Sijena.

In order to gather the prayers of noble women from the Kingdom and Crown of Aragon, the Royal Monastery of Sijena (Huesca) was founded in 1188 at the request of Queen Doña Sancha de Castilla, wife of King Alfonso II of Aragon, with religious sisters from the Sacred, Sovereign, and Illustrious Military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. The events of the last two centuries (Napoleonic thefts, dissolution of the heritage after the disentailment, and the extensive destruction of the monastery in 1936) make research difficult, although this does not diminish the interest that this ancient and distinguished female cenobium holds for historians and fine arts scholars, showcasing its musical importance through this program. The documentation we currently have is minimal, but sufficient to demonstrate the relationship between nobility, liturgy, and music. The study of sources, both liturgical-musical and administrative, allows us to recreate and immerse ourselves in a careful, systematic, and often particular practice of singing within the liturgy that endured for centuries as an identity symbol of this royal foundation. Its Ceremonial (1588) is a compendium of these practices, describing them and specifying the architectural spaces of the cenobium and the vestments used for their performance, being musically confirmed and embellished by its Procession (14th-15th century). This program will transport us, displaying a melodic richness, through three of the most significant moments of the liturgical year: the feast of Saint John the Baptist, whose chants would evoke the religious sisters’ profession in the monastery; the celebration of the Mandatum on Holy Thursday, which the founding queen was particularly interested in systematizing as an example of dedication to the poor in a hospital foundation; and the intensity of Easter, maintaining the representation of the Visitatio sepulchri beyond the Council of Trent, in this case, the so-called “Easter angels’ chant.”
Alberto Cebolla