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Monday, May 11, 2009

Vicenza Jazz Festival 2009 - Jan Garbarek & Hilliard Ensemble "Officium" by Arvo Part



Imagine a centuries old Francescan Monastery in downtown Vicenza with a nearby Gothic cathedral, a sort-of peceful island in the busy modernity, full packed for the event of the year, music and spirituality, modern and ancient.

Padre Celso, the Dom, elder friar, introduced the concert to the several people in the church, where in his words, the spirituality and misticism of Arvo Part's masterpiece where paramount vs. a concept of "religion" which is quite limited to the deepness of music and its effects on human soul.

After some minutes of crowd noises calming down, at last, the Tempio di San Lorenzo, that's the name of the place, voices began to spread in the huge reverberant space, coming in the Gregorian chant centuries old tradition, from the walking singers while reaching the shrine, elevated central space.

Jan Garbarek arrived with his "Reunion Blues" leather sax-bag, with two instruments: a tenor-sax and a saxello and he began, respectfully, to interact with heavenly voices of Hilliard's four angels...

Seeing all this happening at 4-5 meters from me made me someway embarassed: is it not too much, for me?!? Who am I to be sooo near to the core of things happening?

The text in latin, russian, english, is a long, long, yet far TOO brief moment, so various, full of chromatic and melodic changes... when the sax sounded a little bit inappropriate, suddenly the composer changed his music...

As Padre Celso explained, also the singers, for two times, during the "Officium" itself, the corpus of sacred words and music made for meditation and knowledge, are brought to ask for pity to the Lord, humbly... during the aria: "Most Holy Mother of God Save Us", the interwoving of three of the four voices resulted in shivers and mind-boggling for yours truly... the simple voices in the huge church resulted so... so... unique, awesome, moving...

Shortly after, always 3/4 of Hilliard's made something... in an angular, Perotinus-like vocal bliss, Jan Garbarek's began a slow boogie-woogie, cool bluesy riff, which, to anyone surprise, was so elegant and proper... surprising thinking that what was modern in 12th century may be still modern these days, blending with absolutely "wrong", modern music, flawlessly.

After a time which, no surprise, flowed like a fluid, as they arrived, the four singers exited... their voices coming from mid and back of the Cathedral where reminding me of Harmonic Chanting, as coming from Tibetan Gyuto monks from Tibet... this surprised me, as one more time, I discovered, must say re-discovered something I was already aware of... it's one world and no boundaries, in music and culture REALLY exists.

That's plain true... thus my hint is: keep your eyes on ECM's concerts schedule to find the Garbarek and Hilliard on Arvo Part's music nearest to you.

A great concert, an experience... again beyond definitions: is it classic, is it avantgarde or ancient, Gregorian music or is it jazz? Who care... it sure is Music and one of the very best concerts of my whole life.

Thanks to Padre Celso, Riccardo Brazzale, Franca and Pippo.

Thanks also to Roberto Cifarelli, as I linked here below to his superb pixes and site:

Officium pixes

1 comment:

asoio said...

Thanks for this! :)