ANCIENT MARIAN DEVOTIONAL SONGS
Lucca’s longest-running festival continues throughout May with a series of fascinating concerts, hosted in highly picturesque places, with sacred music, choirs, organ and the Lucchese Masters who have contributed to the city’s history. All this is included the calendar of the fiftieth Sagra Musicale Lucchese, which will run until 11th June, in some of the most beautiful churches of Lucca and its province and is organized by the Archdiocese of Lucca, the Province of Lucca and the City of Lucca (founder members), supported by the Fondazione Cassa di Lucca and Oleificio Rocchi.
On Tuesday, May 3rd, in the Church of Santa Maria Corteorlandini, by courtesy of the Interior Ministry’s Fund for Religious Buildings, at 9 pm, there’s a Concerto dell’accoglienza “Miracula” Il libro delle Cantigas di Santa Maria (“Miracula” The Book of Cantigas of Santa Maria), organized by Concentus Lucensis conducted by Stefano Albarello. The concert presents ancient songs of Marian devotion, which were very important between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The Cantigas de Santa Maria are linked to a repertoire originating in Cluny in the literature of Miracula describing the miracles attributed to the founding of Notre-Dame. The Cantigas, commissioned by Alfonso the Wise of Castile, became a tangible symbol of the pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella cathedral. They reveal the strength of belief, helped by miracles, which drove thousands of pilgrims on their route to places of worship including Lucca.
The evening concludes with a seminar entitled “Cantigas de Santa Maria: giving voice to the manuscripts“, by the Concentus Lucensis musical association, on the occasion of the Jubilee, and as part of the “Project Peregrinari”, in collaboration with the Lucca Ospitale association, the Misericordia di Lucca Confraternity and the mixed choir of the musical High school involved in the project. Performers are Matteo Zenatti (vocals and Romanesque harp), Fabio Tricomi (drum and flute, oud, percussion), Linda Severi (flutes and shawm), Mirko Giuntini (medieval organ), Elisa Severi (vieille), Francesco Tognelli (vieille and hurdy-gurdy), and Niccolò Bellandi (percussion).
BAROQUE CONCERT WITH “IL ROSSIGNOL”
On Saturday, May 14th, at 6 pm in Lucca’s Chiesa Della Rosa there’s a flute and harpsichord concert with music by Geminiani and Handel and the musicians of “Il Rossignol”, Martino Noferi (flute and oboe), Marica Testi (flute) and Ottaviano Tenerani (harpsichord). Regarded by international critics as one of the finest Italian early music ensembles for their interpretive verve and faithfulness to the texts “Il Rossignol” is a varying ensemble according to the repertoire played, specializing in study and performing early music on period instruments.
The group’s discography led to discoveries such as Caccini’s madrigals and canzoni for five voices, (CD selected by Early Music magazine), G. B. Martini’s chamber symphonies (Classic Voice Magazine CD Award, May 2002), and G. B. Sammartini’s four-part nocturnes. (‘A marvellous performance!’ – Classical Music). Recently the group signed a record deal with Sony Classical International.
ORGAN CONCERT AT THE ABBEY OF CAMAIORE
On Sunday, May 29th the Sagra Musicale Lucchese holds, in the Badia di Camaiore at 9 pm, an organ concert with Italian and German music from the 18th century, including Bach and Grigny, performed by organist Bernhard Marx, the current master organist of St. Blasien Cathedral in Germany.
(Badia di Camaiore)
Bernhard Marx was a student of Marie-Claire Alain organ (Paris), Ludwig Doerr (Saarbrucken / Freiburg) and Gaston Litaize (Paris). He has also participated in several international master classes with Anton Heiller (Vienna), and Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini (Bologna). In 1973 he won 3rd Prize in the International Johann Sebastian Bach Organ Competition of Bruges. From 1972 he has been titular organist of the Johanneskirche in Freiburg and professor of organ at the Pedagogical Academy in the same city. In the academic year 1979/1980 he was appointed professor of organ at Rottenburg’s Hochschule for church music. Since 1997 he is artistic director of the famous Sacred Music International Festival of St. Blasien’s Cathedral (Black Forest). Since 2011 he is organist of St. Blasien Cathedral. Free admission.