Margery Kempe’s Journeys in Sound
Margery Kempe was born 650 years ago in 1373 in King’s Lynn (then known as Bishop’s Lynn) in Norfolk. A wife, mother of 14 children and mystical visionary, she is responsible for the first autobiography in English, a book that survived in a single copy found by chance in the 1930s in an attic in Chesterfield. The story she tells of her life is extraordinary, both strange and familiar to us today. She was an enthusiastic pilgrim, visiting Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and the relics of the Holy Blood in Bad Wilsnack in northern Germany as well as pilgrimage places in England like Canterbury, Norwich, Melton Mowbray, York, Beverley, Lincoln, London and Ely. When she visited Leicester, she was dragged in front of the great and the good of the town (all men of course) to give an account of herself and prove she wasn’t a heretic. The Mayor accused her of wanting to steal away their wives!!
This concert evokes some of her journeys and meetings with music from the places she visited. You will hear Gregorian chants from Trondheim, Gdansk, Cyprus and Jerusalem, pilgrim songs, music from the Old Hall manuscript, medieval English carols in honour of saints alongside sacred music from places Kempe visited in Germany, Spain and Italy.