The sibylline prophecies

Cant de la Sibilla, XIVth et XVIth spanish centuries

Les prophéties des Sibylles (2011), Philippe Hersant

Programme for five female voices

Duration : 1h

The echo of the Sibyls has been heard since ancient times; set to music and sung from the 10th century onwards in several regions of the Mediterranean, the song of the Sibyl proclaims the day of the Last Judgement. It is unusual to have these ancient Greek prophetesses delivering their oracles in the heart of the Christian liturgy: in fact, the Fathers of the Church sought to reinterpret the Sibylline oracles, in particular the 8th book that is attributed to the Erythrean Sybil, making them appear to predict the birth of Christ. St. Augustine made a Latin translation of the relevant sections under the title of Iudicii signum.

The Christian text containing the Sibylline prophecy first appeared in the Iberian peninsula during the 11th century; from the 13th century onwards the Song of the Sibyl was sung in the local languages: Occitan, Castilian and Catalan.

This concert allows us to hear once more from the prophetesses who have proclaimed the coming end of the world over the centuries. Philippe Hersant’s Les prophéties des Sibylles, a commission from De Caelis, makes use of two versions of the Catalan Cant de la Sibilla (14th and 16th centuries) as well as polyphonic settings of the Prophecies from mediaeval and Renaissance Spain.