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.
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.