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Aleix Palau | 12 April 2022

Festival Llums d'Antiga fills Barcelona’s medieval churches with music

With a total of six concerts, held from 20 April to 5 May in three of Barcelona’s most fascinating medieval buildings: the Chapel of Santa Àgata, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi, and the Sant Pau del Camp Monastery.
Jordi Savall, Graindelavoix, Carlos Mena, Emmanuelle de Negri, Exaudi Vocal Ensemble, La Grande Chapelle and Forma Antiqva will all be taking part in the festival.

Festival Llums d'Antiga fills Barcelona’s medieval churches with music

Festival Llums d’Antiga, organised by L’Auditori and held in different historic buildings in Barcelona, will be returning to the city. The medieval venues of this fourth edition are the Chapel of Santa Àgata, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi, and the Monastery of Sant Pau del Camp.

These three superb buildings will host a total of six concerts from 20 April to 5 May, with the participation of leading experts in early music. At this edition, composer Carlo Gesualdo will feature prominently, and works of his will be performed by two of today’s most highly acclaimed vocal ensembles: Exaudi Vocal Ensemble and Graindelavoix.

Albert Recasens’ La Grande Chapelle will open the festival, while Jordi Savall will explore the art of variation and improvisation in 17th century European chamber music. Le Consort, with soprano Emmanuelle de Negri, will invite the audience to explore the melodies of the French Baroque period and, to close the festival, prestigious countertenor Carlos Mena, accompanied by the Forma Antiqva ensemble, will perform a selection of music written for Farinelli.

The Llums d’Antiga programme coincides with this season’s theme at L’Auditori, with Love and Hate as its key focus. Also featured at Llums D’Antiga are this season’s two guest composers–Joan Magrané and Bernat Vivancos– in keeping with L’Auditori’s cross-cutting approach to its artistic programme, with the world premiere of a work by Magrané, commissioned by L’Auditori, and the Spanish premiere of a work by Vivancos.

The opening concert by La Grande Chapelle, under the direction of Albert Recasens, revolves around the lamentations found in 16th and 17th century music from the Iberian Peninsula, mainly by disciples of Palestrina, such as Tomás Luis de Victoria, Alonso Lobo, Pedro Riumonte and Portuguese composer Manuel Cardoso.

Jordi Savall will make his Llums d’Antiga debut with Hespèrion XXI and a repertoire made up of lachrimae, lamentations and folias from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The concert will feature some of his regular musicians, such as Xavier Díaz-Latorre on the guitar and theorbo, Andrew Lawrence King on the Baroque harp and Pedro Esteban on percussion. A concert of music that has close ties with popular music, it is also a journey into the art of variation and improvisation and their different forms and traditions.

The theme of Love and Hate will be reinforced in a performance by the magnificent soprano Emmanuelle de Negri and the Le Consort ensemble, conducted by harpsichordist Justin Taylor, who has taken part in the festival before, through a journey of discovery into the poetic universe of 18th century French Baroque music.

One of Spain’s leading countertenors with a proven, long and consistent career, Carlos Mena will offer a programme of arias and overtures associated with the legendary castrato Farinelli: music whose brilliance and technical skills will resonate deeply with the audience.

Two leading international vocal ensembles, Exaudi Vocal Ensemble and Graindelavoix, will be returning to L’Auditori to pay tribute to Carlo Gesualdo, performing madrigals by the Italian composer, in the first case, and his Tenebrae responsoria in the second. Both ensembles are equally at home performing early and new music. Indeed, Exaudi Vocal Ensemble, directed by James Weeks, will perform the Spanish premiere of Nigra es, pulchra sum by Bernat Vivancos, while Graindelavoix will perform the world premiere of Miserere by Joan Magrané, a work commissioned by L’Auditori de Barcelona.

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