Voces Cælestes & Real Câmara with Paul Agnew

Main Programme

Venue: Monastery of Alcobaça - Church

From penitence to redemption

Adapting, arranging, revising, transposing, compiling and parodying were tasks that occupied the eighteenth-century composer as much time as writing new works, and they were seen as an integral part of his work and with equal dignity. At a time when it was necessary to constantly provide music for numerous daily liturgical celebrations, alongside countless other commitments - such as rehearsing and teaching singers, copying and preparing scores, caring for the tuning and repair of instruments, or even teaching Latin or theology - the Chapel Masters and Kantors did not hesitate to recycle older works of their own or to recover compositions from their colleagues or predecessors. Concepts such as originality and intellectual property were less important and more relative than they are today. Copying and quoting were seen as homage or deference and even plagiarism was treated with tolerance. Millions of works of the highest quality and inspiration were discarded and quickly forgotten or even destroyed after one or two uses, while others, sometimes for no apparent reason, circulated throughout Europe. Often anonymous or attributed to different authors, they integrated collections, and served as a reference for young composers, or even for more experienced musicians eager to learn the fashions and traditions of other places. This programme illustrates these phenomena in a unique way: a psalm by Zelenka based on an organ piece by Frescobaldi; an anonymous motet that may have passed through the hands of Kuhnau, Bach and Graun; a mass by Bach that recycles movements from three earlier cantatas; instrumental works by Fux that quote the styles of Lully, Muffat or Corelli... Collectively, these works reveal above all the inexhaustible creativity, surprising flexibility and supreme beauty of German sacred music of the early 18th century.


Paul Agnew, musical direction
Sérgio Fontão, choir direction

Inês Tavares Lopes, soprano
Rita Morão Tavares, alto
Rodrigo Carreto, tenor
Carlos Pedro Santos, bass

Real Câmara
Luca Giardini, César Nogueira and Ágnes Sárosi, violins I
Guadalupe del Moral, Miriam Macaia Martins and Abel Balázs, violins II
Raquel Massadas and Antina Hugosson, violas
Diana Vinagre and Caroline Kang, cellos
Marta Vicente, double bass
Eyal Streett, bassoon
Pedro Castro and Luís Marques, oboes
Fernando Miguel Jalôto, organ

Voces Cælestes
Claire Rocha, Inês Tavares Lopes, Mariana Moldão and Verónica Milagres da Silva, sopranos
Fátima Nunes, Joana Esteves, António Lourenço Menezes and Rita Morão Tavares, altos
Frederico Projecto, Gerson Coelho, Jaime Bacharel and Rodrigo Carreto, tenors
Carlos Pedro Santos, José Bruto da Costa, Manuel Rebelo and Tiago Batista, basses

Support: Alcobaça Parish


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BPI/"La Caixa" Foundation is Patron of the 30th edition of the Alcobaça Music Festival

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