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Aleix Palau | 18 February 2019

The Lights of Early Music Festival closes its first edition with resounding success in terms of number of ‎participants and a consolidated artistic proposal.‎

The seven scheduled concerts, four of which were sold out, drew 1,500 people to three ‎historic landmarks in Barcelona, as well as L’Auditori.‎

The Alternative History ensemble brought the first edition of the Lights of Early Music Festival ‎to a close last Saturday. The edition attracted 1,500 spectators and achieved 80% of its ‎capacity. Of the seven scheduled concerts, four were sold out, thus consolidating the new ‎proposal and making it a great success.‎

The great artistic quality of the Festival, with some of the most acclaimed soloists and ‎ensembles from the international arena, and the attractive concert venues, which were held ‎at three historic landmarks in Barcelona and at L’Auditori, guaranteed that this edition was ‎well-received.‎

Big names in exceptional places

The spirit of bringing lesser-known repertoires, ensembles, performers and more unusual ‎types of concert closer to the public has prompted the Lights of Early Music Festival to look ‎for scenarios where the music could be heard in the environment for which it was composed. ‎In this way, the Basilicas of Santa María del Pi and the Holy Martyrs Justus and Pastor, and the ‎Chapel of Santa Ágata have become exceptional concert halls, both for their acoustics and ‎their centuries-old beauty. These three renowned Gothic landmarks in the city were joined ‎by Hall 2 Pau Casals at L’Auditori, which launched the promotion and design of this Festival.‎

The organist Juan de la Rubia accompanied by poet and philologist Manuel Forcano, soprano ‎Núria Rial and the Accademia del Piacere, violinist Lina Tur and harpsichordist Kenneth Weiss, ‎as well as the harpsichordists Jean Rondeau and Justin Taylor, and the vocal ensembles Vox ‎Luminis and Alternative History, are the artists that took part in the Lights of Early Music ‎Festival. This year the Festival focused on the historical figures of King Louis XIV and Martin ‎Luther. ‎

Lights of Early Music Festival 2020: Llibertat. Entre el caos i l’ordre.

The next edition of the Lights of Early Music Festival, to be held in February 2020, will revolve ‎around the concept of freedom as a theme related to the figure of Ludwig van Beethoven, as ‎part of the celebrations to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. ‎It will be entitled: “Llibertat. Entre el caos i l’ordre”.‎

The line-up will feature the Ensemble O Vos Omnes which, conducted by Xavier Pastrana, will ‎perform a programme based on Florentine music from Girolamo Savonarola´s time and the ‎Bonfire of the Vanities. The Belgian ensemble and art collective Graindelavoix will be ‎performing the programme “Monsters of Early Music”, which opens with a quote from E.T.A. ‎Hoffmann, who considered that Beethoven conceptualised a new musical art form ‎connected with “monstrosity” or what the Germans call “Das Ungeheuer”. The programme ‎will attempt to address this “monstrosity” through the roots of western polyphony.‎

Two multi-award winners will also be taking part in the Lights of Early Music 2020. The first of ‎these is El Gran Teatro del Mundo, winner of the Early Music EEEMERGING (Emerging ‎European Ensembles) project, who will present a programme that delves into the dream ‎world through Calderón´s stage play “Life is a Dream”. The other, the Sollazzo Ensemble, has ‎received the Diapason d'Or, Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice and BBC Music Magazine Choir & ‎Song Choice for its album Parle qui veut, featuring moralising songs from the Middle Ages. ‎They will be presenting it at the Festival.‎

After the great success he has achieved this year, the young harpsichordist Justin Taylor will ‎be returning to the Lights of Early Music Festival to demonstrate the versatility of his ‎instrument with works by Scarlatti, Padre Antonio Soler and Ligeti.‎

To commemorate the 350th anniversary of the birth of the Italian composer ‎Antonio Caldara, who had close ties to the city of Barcelona, the Royal Chamber Opera and ‎soprano María Espada will be performing a selection of opera arias composed for the greater ‎glory of the king and related concepts, such as power, order or sublimity. These form the ‎backbone of the text of one of Caldara’s great operas, Il più Bel Nome, which premiered at ‎the Llotja de Mar in Barcelona in 1708.‎

Regarding the historic landmarks that will host the concerts, it has already been confirmed ‎that the Monastery of Sant Pau del Camp, which has the oldest church in Barcelona, will be ‎included in the next edition.‎