Jean-Philippe composes new

Ode to Mary, Star of the Sea.

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OUR DEAR LADY (“SLEVRUIKE” in Limburg dialect)

A new ode to “Our Dear Lady”

Limburg newspaper, August 2013.

By Stefan Gybels

Mary’s Assumption

Dear Mary, thank you for being here! (Lieve Maria dank dat u er bent!) That is the name of a new composition in honor of “Our Dear Lady” (Mary). It was meant to be a gift to the pastor as well as the parish, but actually to the whole of Maastricht. Composer Jean-Philippe Rieu and Roeland Schoonbrood of the "Brotherhood of Our Lady”, laugh when they recall how and where the idea for this composition originated – in the Café Saint Servais; almost as though Servaas himself was involved. Schoonbrood has been thinking about a new composition for a long time; not because the well-known Oh Purest of All Creatures (Oh reinste der schepselen) is no longer satisfactory, but because Mary cannot be honored enough – especially not in the year in which her revered image in Maastricht celebrates its 600th anniversary. It is also the same year – we are referring to 2014 – in which the “Brotherhood of Our Lady” will be celebrating its 300th anniversary; a truly festive year.

Is there a nicer gift than a new ode to Mary? Apparently not, according to Rieu and Schoonbrood. "The song was intended as a gift to pastor Fons Kurris and the parish, but it is obviously a gift for everyone," says Schoonbrood. "I think everyone harbors (positive) feelings towards Mary. The church is suffering under negative publicity regarding abuse, but Mary remains much beloved.” A glimpse into the chapel at the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein (a square in Maastricht) confirms this sentiment. As usual, it is buzzing with people coming and going. One is praying with eyes closed, another lights a candle and yet another kneels for a moment and then leaves again. The chapel is a place of rest in the busy everyday existence. Pastor Fons Kurris knows this better than anyone else. "People find support, comfort. On two occasions recently an ambulance came by. It was people from the hospice who wanted to visit the chapel once more before they died. ‘Our Lady’ is for everyone”.

This is also the case with Jean-Philippe Rieu, who grew up in the vicinity of the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein and was familiar with the veneration of Mary from a young age. "For me, it was therefore an absolute honor to compose this song; one of the highlights of my musical life. It is not something that you just do.” Rieu worked on the composition for more than a year. "First of all, I went in search of an answer to the question 'what does Mary really mean to people?' Not just to me, but also to others. That search immediately gave a soul to the composition.” The text is remarkably ‘light’ for an ecclesiastical (religious) song – deliberately so, according to the composer. “It should be understood by everyone. This is why it is written in contemporary language. Everyone should also be able to sing along, without it summarily becoming a carnival song. "

Rieu presented the text to bishop Frans Wiertz. "He constituted the panel of judges" laughs Rieu. "Of course I wanted to ascertain whether the text was acceptable. Fortunately, the bishop was immediately enthusiastic. He even suggested that the composition be spread (publicized) throughout Limburg as well as abroad.  That was excellent, of course, so it is being translated into French, Spanish and German. As I said: the song is for everybody."

Dear Mary thank you that you are here! (Lieve Maria dank dat u er bent!) will be presented on August 15, the holiday that commemorates Mary’s Assumption. The composition will, for the first time, resound through the basilica by means of the warm voice of Fons Kurris – a moment highly anticipated by both Rieu and Schoonbrood. "The beautiful voice of the pastor in a full church. That will be a wonderful debut for the song." Thereafter, the intention is for the text to be distributed as widely as possible. Consideration is also being given to releasing it as an MP3. Copies of the text will be available in the church regardless. "The intention is for the entire city to know the song by May 15, 2014, when we celebrate the anniversary of the iconic statue and the brotherhood," said Schoonbrood. Having already received the blessing of Saint Servatius, virtually nothing can go wrong.

The commemoration of Mary’s Assumption (Maria Tenhemelopneming) will take place on August 15.

The festival to honor Mary (Maria) is also known as St. Marie.
The day starts with mass at 10 AM, and will be led by Mathieu Hanneman.
The new composition in honor of Mary will be heard for the first time after the celebration.
After the mass, kroedwösj (a type of local herb sausage) will be distributed and there will be a gathering at the junction of the passages in the basilica.
At 4.30 PM praise will be given with compositions honoring Mary.
"The Mary Song renews and invigorates. It is a worthy start to our Jubilee Year.
That will also be observed without too many whistles and calls, because there are already enough of those in Maastricht."

Anyone who has been in Maastricht, knows about the OLV Basilica and the Maria sculpture in the chapel besides the Basilica. Many people burn candles there, go to church and have a drink on one of the terraces of the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Square (Our Dear Lady Square). Due to several religious festivities in 2014, Jean Philippe Rieu (André youngest brother) composed a new song in Mary's honor to present it as a start to the Jubilee Year 2014. Thanks to Entia for the translation.

To see the chapel, click on the following link: www.sterre-der-zee.nl/virtueel.

Jean-Philippe composes ode to Mary

Jean-Philippe Rieu composes new ode to Mary, Star of the Sea.

Due to the 600th anniversary of Mary's revered image in 2014, André's younger brother composed a new song in Mary's honor to present as a start to the Jubilee Year 2014.