During the Middle Ages the legend of Saint Sigfrid was related on Saint Sigfrid’s Day, the 15th of February. It was reported how he by difficult paths arrived in Småland as a mis-sionary; upon his death he was buried in Växjö. The legend was presented in words and music in the form of an Office, that is, the services which in a monastic context – as was the case at Växjö Cathedral during the Middle Ages – were spread evenly throughout the day. This combination of recitation from the saint’s legend and chants about the saint is called an Office or historia.
There are many possibilities about how to interpret Gregorian chant today, just as there was in the Middle Ages. The ensemble Gemma strives for a flexible, text-based song where the accentuation of the words forms the foundation for the melodic line. In this recording
we have used a pronunciation of the Latin as it is believed to have sounded during the High Middle Ages in Sweden. Three of the antiphons have been performed with psalmody, in order to some extent high-light the most important task of the Office: The weekly recitation of the 150 psalms from the Old Testament’s Book of Psalms and the cantica from the New Testament.
With this recording of excerpts from the Sigfrid Office, we wish to invite the listener to participate in the rich world represented by the medieval Office repertoire, and to offer an audio selection from Swedish music history.