Harmonia Early Music

Harmonia Time Capsule: 1156

Let’s take a quick look back in time. . . to the year 1156, the death of Finland's Saint Henry and France's Peter the Venerable, and the birth a french count.

Graduale Aboense

Photo: Ramblagir (wikipedia commons)

Detail of the Graduale Aboense, hymn book of Turku, Finland. 14th-15th century.

In this year, the Western church lost one of its most forward-thinking members.  Peter the Venerable died at the age of sixty-four at Cluny, where he was Abbot.  A veritable son of Christendom, Peter was dedicated to the church at birth and given to the Cluniac monastery at Sauxillanges. He helped alter Christian attitudes toward Islam, having gone to Spain to study with Islamic scholars.  He also defended the controversial theologian Peter Abelard and gave him refuge at Cluny. At the personal request of Abelard’s former lover and spiritual sister Heloise, after Abelard’s death, Peter granted him absolution from his sins.

The Medieval Theologians: An Introduction to Theology in the Medieval Period
G. R. Evans
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Peter the Venerable and Islam
James Kritzeck
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Another prominent figure in the Western church died in 1156: The English cleric Henry who helped organize the early Church of Finland. Legend tells of Saint Henry’s murder at the hand of an enraged, axe-wielding convict.  Following his martyrdom, several miracles occurred.  His murderer supposedly lost his scalp after placing Henry’s cap on his head.  Other “lighter” miracles include the restoration of sight to a blind woman; the safe passage of sailors during a storm; and the revival of two dead children.  All of these miracles took place in Finland, so Henry remains one of the early Church of Finland’s most revered saints, though he was never officially canonized.

The Northern Crusades
Eric Christiansen
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In other parts of the world, 1156 was the year of Willem I of Sicily’s naval victory over a Byzantine fleet at the Battle of Brindisi, and of a civil war in Japan, where the palace of Shirakawa-den was stormed by an army of samurai.

Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History
Sandra Benjamin
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The Samurai: A Military History
Stephen Turnbull
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Brief History of the Samurai
Jonathan Clements
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Near the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Gilles in France, a boy named Raymond was born in 1156.  Thirty-eight years later, the boy—grandson of Louis VI—would succeed his father as count of Toulouse.  Raymond VI was an effective ruler and statesman, but he ran into trouble with papal authorities and was excommunicated twice…In spite of a life fraught with political upheaval and military campaigning, Raymond is today honored in a painting on the ceiling of the Minnesota Supreme Court, alongside Confucius, Moses, and Socrates, each representing an aspect of law. Raymond is honored for ensuring civil liberties, tax exemptions, and the protection of communal territory from the church.

The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade
Michael Costen
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Music heard in this time capsule:

Peter Abelard: Tr. 3 Dolorum solatium (excerpt)
Sequentia — Visions from the Book (Deutsche harmonia mundi , 1996)
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album cover

Peter Abelard: Tr. 3 Dolorum solatium (excerpt)
Sequentia — Visions from the Book (Deutsche harmonia mundi , 1996)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Medieval Theologians: An Introduction to Theology in the Medieval Period
G. R. Evans
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Peter the Venerable and Islam
James Kritzeck
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Northern Crusades
Eric Christiansen
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Sicily: Three Thousand Years of Human History
Sandra Benjamin
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Samurai: A Military History
Stephen Turnbull
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Brief History of the Samurai
Jonathan Clements
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade
Michael Costen
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Laura Osterlund

Laura Osterlund is a scriptwriter for Harmonia, recorder player, and student at McGill Univeristy in Montreal, Canada. In 2007, she moved from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois to Montreal in pursuit of a B.Mus. with major concentrations in Early Music Performance and Music History. Laura is an active musician throughout Montreal and Chicago and an avid memberof the movement to promote Early Music performance, pedagogy, research, and appreciation throughout North America.

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