MUSICAL EVENINGS AT THE PALACE OF PENA
We may question just what is the purpose of art in contemporary society, that which serves to extend and prolong our contemplation of beauty in a world that increasingly strives for the useful.
The response comes from within man, the physiological need to apply these demands as a trampoline for the mind. Which leads us onto the history of musical creativity that is truly the result of the grandiose vaulting of human thought.
Looking to our roots and to the past and simultaneously with our gazes cast on contemporary reality, the 2020 music season, which runs from March to November, intersperses national and international productions and guests, proposing works from both the sacred and the profane repertoires, from the Renaissance through to the early 20th century with the objective of placing the spaces and the historical memories of the palaces of Sintra and their leading figures in constant dialogue with the musical culture the great composers of Western European and Mediterranean music as well as with certain “detours” into more distant worlds that may be geographically or modestly distant to ourselves and our knowledge. Pieces by Schumann, Reinecke, Rey Colaço, Dvorak, Vianna da Motta, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Rachmaninov, Ortiz, Arauxo, Saint-Colombe, Marais, Matteo da Perugia, Gabrieli, Schütz, Grandi, Stradella, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Clementi, and Bomtempo represent just some of the pieces in this kaleidoscope that looks out back over the five centuries incorporated into this music season.
The guest performers for this season once again appear before our eyes and even more to our ears as if a Mount Olympus: Jordi Savall, Pino de Vittorio, La Fonte Musica, Concerto Scirocco, Sara Mingardo, Vasco Dantas, Nuno de Sousa, Quarteto de Matosinhos, João Paulo Santos, Andreas Staier, Núria Rial, Andrea de Carlo, Ensemble Mare Nostrum, Concerto Campestre, Divino Sospiro, Roberta Mameli, Gulbenkian Choir, Michel Corboz, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Laura Pontecorvo, João Reis, Juan Sancho, José Maria lo Monaco, Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu, Stefania Neonato are an army of enlightenment, formed by artists of absolute excellence, many of which have in recent decades established an inalienable place in the hearts and lives of many music lovers around the world. Simultaneously, our study and research work has continued uninterruptedly within the framework of restoring our intellectual heritage and its historical and cultural identification.
The Serenade “La constesa delle stagioni”, the only surviving example of the 15 Serenades written by the great composer Domenico Scarlatti, dates back exactly 300 years to the occasion of the birthday of Maria Ana of Austria, Queen of Portugal, receiving its premiere in Lisbon on 7 September 1720. This work provides one of the architypes of a genre, the Serenade that in Portugal experienced a practically incomparable level of development to other European countries and that finds an ideal venue of priceless value in the National Palace of Queluz.
This edition of the Music Season also results from meaningful and constant debate, deploying intelligence and interdisciplinary knowledge while concentrating on the purpose that combines, I hope successfully, a conjugation of design, creativity and innovation with devotion to the tradition of physical places and intellectual trends and to history through the rediscovery and perfection of the performers within the contemporary music context and in constant service and respect for this supreme art that has been handed down from our past. The truth is that we find ourselves on a constant, endless search, never actually obtaining our goal. The kiss of the muse is the only objective as Art is no pretty accessory but rather the umbilical cord that keeps us connected to the divine and tranquilises our humanity. Art guides and stimulates us to attain a certain intimate self-realisation. This is the mirror through which we should view ourselves. The temptation to avoid this confrontation sometimes forces us to approach art as something merely aesthetic or popular and, very frequently, those who view music only in a superficial and alienated fashion that lacks any
perception as to just what it means to perform an opera to the public rather than a symphony. I desire that the public grows happily with music. Music is fundamental to every human being and may never be lived without it: as the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, any existence deprived of music would be an error. Music is the very language of the soul that arrives directly into the heart of every person and that surrounds us in every place and at every moment. In the musical world of tomorrow, there shall be a crowd of music lovers who listen with open minds and free of any limitations.
It is frequently said that art reaches everybody but it is not for everybody. I disagree and think that it is most correct to say that art, especially music, remains in the reach of all those who seek to challenge themselves through such means.