Musica Ficta performs Traveling Music – Three Cultures

Saturday, March 7, 2015, 8:00 pm
Preconcert lecture at 7:00 pm
Town Hall Seattle

Please note, this event has passed.

Back by popular demand, Musica Ficta presents music of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim worlds that coexisted in Moorish Spain until the fateful year 1492. Traveling Music – Three Cultures explores music of the Sephardic Jews, the Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alphonso X El Sabio, the villancicos of Diego Pisador, and improvisations with Ottoman Turkish roots.

Based in Valencia and directed by Raúl Mallavibarrena, Musica Ficta brings together Spain’s finest vocal and instrumental early music specialists for this program which celebrates their nation’s cultural riches.


Program Notes

Traveling Music – Three Cultures explores music from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim worlds which coexisted on the Iberian Peninsula from the late Middle Ages to the first decades of the 17th century. These three faiths were part of a hostile but often integrated environment, and inevitably the cultures and musical repertoire were influenced by one another…

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An early example of these influences can be found in the Cantigas de Santa María from Alfonso X El Sabio (1221 – 1284), a king whose interest in culture led to the integration in his court of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim intellectuals and artists, despite increased war activities. The Cantigas and many other selections on the program come from the time of the Reconquista, when several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking and populating the Iberian Peninsula.

A large portion of Traveling Music – Three Cultures relates directly to three key events from the fateful year 1492; the conquest of the Kingdom of Granada, the expulsion of the Jews from the Peninsula, and the Spanish arrival in the New World. These events ended Muslim occupation in the Iberian Peninsula, led to Sephardim culture developing a Diaspora in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans, and provided another outlet (the Americas) for Christian evangelism.

Musica Ficta’s exploration continues to the first decade of the 17th century, when the last of the Moorish people (Muslims converted to Christianity after 1502) were banished under the kingdom of Felipe III.

Traveling Music – Three Cultures presents music subject to perpetual change and travel, long sustained by memory, oral cultures, and manuscripts that reached far corners of the world. Christians, Jews, and Muslims shared a common space and a common history, alternating times of violence with times of peace, and this music is evidence of their fusion.

Musica Ficta

Musica Ficta is considered one of the most distinguished early music ensembles in Spain. From its beginning in 1992, the ensemble has toured and performed at some of the most important music festivals in Europe, including Quincena Musical Donostiarra, Siglos de Oro, Festival de Úbeda y Baeza, Camino de Santiago, and Festival de Otoño. They have also appeared in Italy, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Norway, Greece and Japan.

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Musica Ficta has recorded 17 CDs for the Cantus and Enchiriadis labels, some of which have received critical acclaim and awards such as the 10 mark in the French magazine Répertoire. Their recording of the Tomás Luis de Victoria Officium Defunctorum was awarded “Best Renaissance music CD” in CD Compact magazine. This CD was also chosen for the Spanish newspaper El País classical music collection. Musica Ficta’s CD catalogue has been largely dedicated to publishing previously unpublished Spanish masterworks.


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