177 – The Virgin on a Spruce

No more than 85 people live in Hochfeistritz, a small village in eastern Carinthia, 968 meters above sea level, perching on the western flank of the mountain range called “Saualm”. A narrow, winding road leads up there, and one would not necessarily expect a jewel of a Gothic church in this lost place, but here it is, a pilgrimage church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who, according to legend, in the year 1215 has appeared to a peasant, standing upon a spruce. The current church dates from 1460.

The Song of the Day is “Santa Maria, Strela do dia” (Cantigas de Santa Maria 100), not exactly a Carinthian pilgrimage song, but one of the more beautiful.

Which version? Hard to say, because everybody who dabbles in old (well, very old) music has sung it. Personally I probably like Jordi Savall’s version best. Sadly Amazon has no sound sample of this, so have a look at this version.

In reality it does not matter which version. As you get hooked to that kind of music, you want to have all of them, because all are different. Some are only sung, others use various kinds of medieval instruments (and there are many), and there is no right or wrong.