Many composers of the past centuries have been attracted by the poetic beauty, complex allegorical meanings and sensuous language of the Song of Songs from the Old-Testament. For us, too, these texts have been a rich source of inspiration, reflection and interpretation guidelines. In placing Italian Renaissance melodiousness in contrast with the dense structure of the Franco-Flemish polyphony I was hoping to foreground the fascinating tension between the sacred and the secular. The prevailing oscillation of meaning and content of the Song of Songs has been captured differently by various composers. Palestrina’s style verging on the madrigal has been my foremost model in preparing this programme. The location where we recorded the project has also been carefully chosen. In the chapel consecrated to Saint Mary, at the place of pilgrimage in Paray-le-Monial in the heart of Burgudy where Renaissance polyphony had its roots, this music is still very much at home today. Cultural relations between the Czech lands and France date back to the Middle Ages. Both countries have a rich history with many mutual interactions and our recording is meant as a contribution to this long tradition of cultural exchange.
The Song of Songs is also a story of a man meeting a woman. The love poetry of the Old-Testament Book of Solomon was transformed by the medieval allegorics into the image of Saint Mary which has been recast in our programme into a chequered image of Renaissance music and its beauty. Five men and fathers here sing the narrative that is a celebration of the beauty and gracefulness of a woman but also of the power and merits of the male element. The motif of coming together in our new CD project refers not only to the shared life of a man and woman but is a symbol of the tenth anniversary of the founding of our ensemble.