The Carmelite Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin
A Study in Musical Adaptation
The Carmelite Order accepted the Office of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary into its liturgy in 1393. The Carmelites of Mainz composed new texts for the feast and adapted music from three other Offices — St. Thomas of Canterbury, the Three Marys, and the Nativity of Mary — to the new texts. Differences in textual length and metrical patterns between these Presentation chants and their models forced changes in phrase divisions and melodic contours as part of this process of adaptation, yielding a product that is both musically distinctive and uniquely Carmelite.
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