NOSTRE DAME – عذراء – مريم العذراء

The monophonic repertoire of the famous Notre Dame School, Paris 13th century

In the New Testament and the Qur'an, we encounter the figure of Mary as the mother of a son named Jesus.

In the Qu'ran she is the only woman mentioned by name. The Muslims venerate Jesus as the last prophet before Mohammed and therefore Mary enjoys special prestige as his mother, even an entire sura bears her name (sura 19). There it is reported how she gives birth to a son named Isa bin Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary) under a palm tree.

In the New Testament, she appears as the Mother of God only in a few places. With the awakening of the Middle Ages, she takes on the form of the Mother of God. In the period around 1000, the image of Mary became more concentrated and in the few surviving works of goldsmith's art from the Ottonian period, the Madonna with the Child in her arms (e.g. the Essen "Golden Madonna") appears not only as the God-bearer, but also as the ruler of heaven – removed from any tangible materiality, devoid of all gravity. In the course of the 13th century, the image of Mary in French cathedrals emerged from this distanced representation of the otherworldly and moved closer to the world, to humanity. The impressive Pietá sculptures were created in this period and the music on our CD also comes from this time: the repertoire of the famous Notre Dame School in Paris.

In Asia Minor, the female deity Artemis, the virgin goddess of the hunt, the forest and the moon, has been worshipped in Greek mythology since ancient times. And just there in Meryemana, now Turkey, exists an Islamic Marian pilgrimage site that also attracts Christian pilgrims – including three popes in the 20th century alone. Here, Muslims worship the mother of the Prophet Isa ibn Maryam and Christians their Mother of God: Nostre Dame – مريم العذراء – Maryam al adhraa – Our Lady!

»O Mary, behold, God has chosen and purified you
and chosen you above all women of the world.
Qu‘ran, Sure 3:42


Beata Viscera Marie Virginis
source: W2 Helmst 1099, f.156v

Gargouille de nostre Dame
Dominik Schneider

Sequentia de Beata Maria: Ave Gloriosa Virginum Regina
source: GB-Lblf. Egerton 274, 3r

Bassem Hawar

Rondellus: O summi regis mater inclita
source: F11, 56, f-470r

Sol oritur
source: F 422r

Dominik Schneider

Salva Nos, Stella Maris
source: MS 29.1, f. 470r

Bassem Hawar

Salve Mater Salvatoris
source: GB-Lbl Egerton 274, f. 69v, Dominican text version