RELIGIOUS POLYPHONIC MUSIC and EL MISTEREI D’ELX
In the Spanish province of Teruel, the brotherhood Los Rosarieros de Híjar has been singing devotional music every holiday before dawn since time immemorial. The archaic character of this repertoire has been maintained to the present day. Their name originates from the most important Marian devotion, The Mysteries of the Rosary.
In the village of Híjar becuase of the brotherhood we find a rich polyphonic oral tradition. Vox Suavis frames this music with pieces from El Misteri d’Elx. In addition, since the 16th century a brotherhood has been organizing performances of The Assumption of Mary in Elche, Alicante. The selected pieces, both monodies and polyphonies, create a perfect link to the traditional repertoire chosen for this program.
JARCHAS, ROMANCES & CANTIGAS
One of the biggest challenges for performers of medieval music is that only a small fraction of the music of this period has survived. As musicians we need as much information as possible and the necessary training to convert this information into music.
This is important when approaching practices, such as improvisation, that might have been commonly used in some repertories but about which we have little information. Improvisation and familiarity with different oral musical traditions are some of this ensemble’s extraordinary strengths.
With this program the ensemble approaches the repertoire of Las Jarchas: the first lyric genre in vernacular language known in the Iberian Peninsula. Called Ignoto Canto, it flourished between the 11th and the 13th century during the Hispano-Arabic coexistence. The members of Vox Suavis make skilled use of improvisation within the framework of medieval monody to give a voice to these melodies of which only the written form survives
RELIGIOUS and CONTEMPORARY COMPOSITION COMBINED
A quick exploration of popular religious music from Spain surprises us with polyphonies rooted in Faux Bourdon: a strong traditional form that survives today thanks to groups of “despertadores,” religious brotherhoods still active in some Spanish provinces. In this program Vox Suavis has chosen to frame the rich repertoire of one such brotherhood, “Los Rosarieros de Hijar” from Teruel, with religious pieces from the oral tradition that were sung during Easter.
At the centre of the program is Stabat Mater, a contemporary work written by Dominique Vellard. The piece is based on a Hymn written by Fra Jacopone da Todi in the XIII century which was sung during the Via Crucis at the Holy Friday office. One part of the Stabat Mater receives further inspiration from the oral Spanish tradition: Fac me vere recall us, a Saeta which was sung during Easter. These influences link it with the surrounding works, casting both in new light.
Ben Bennas Mayo
ARCHAIC MUSICAL REMAINS
Vox Suavis dares to go a bit further and imerses audiences in the Cantigas de Santa María, taking them as the most prominent expression of the Cult of the Virgin Mary in the Iberian Peninsula.
The ensemble nourishes its interpretation with archaic musical remains from local oral traditions. Although these traditional pieces cannot be dated, they curiously show a close melodic, formal, metric and thematic relation to the Cantigas.
La Voz del Olvido
7 CANTIGAS IN GALICIAN-PORTUGUESE
In this program, the 7 Cantigas de Amigo of Martin Codax along with others from the Cantigas de Santa María, are framed in the oral tradition of several Spanish provinces, such as Galicia and Castilla, regions where the language of the cantigas, Galician-Portuguese, was born.