AUGUST 24-27th 2017


This year the Festival will make Reformation and Counter-Reformation as its topic. But rather than initiating a teological discussion, we want to take a closer look on cultural and, in particular, musical ramifications and results of a rupture within Catholic Church, that took place 500 years ago.

The year was 1517, when Augustinian friar Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door of Wittenberg church – an act, which is widely considered as the symbolic start of the Reformation movement.

Emerging from one and the same liturgical tradition, two confessions gradually grew apart and had developed characteristic musical and literary forms, as well as specific educational and propaganda forms, with music at its core. These forms more often than not have emphasized differences between them, such as aspect of national languages usage, function of the congregation, or a way instruments are being used (along with specific role of the organ).

Music was often used as a weapon in religious debates: translated contents of faith or provided with teological exegesis, supporting debatable issues; showed triumfant splendor or expressed folk piety and devotion. Music forms have emerged from inherited medieval traditions and were, at the same time, an answer to ideological needs. Thus, on one side we have Martin Luther and his views on music, as well as him being an author of simple chants, which later became exemplary for many composers, and a basis for concertante or dramatic compositions (cantatas, passions). On the other side we have Catholic approach, along with a distinctive role of Council of Trent within Counter Reformation movement (1545-1563), which set out the basis of Catholic church music and commissioned development of new liturgical chant books. Additionally, we can observe a strong emphasis on a figure of the Holy Mary in post-Trent Catholic works of that period.

Supporting, as well as recognition of the importance of music in a religious worhsip by both Catholic and Prostestant hierarchs resulted in many magnificent works. Some of the greatest composers, like Michael Praetorius, had written his compositions to answer the needs of both disputing sides.

REFORMATIONSMESSE 1617 – a reconstruction of a mass, celebrated in Dresden on 100th anniversary of Reformation movement, based on polychoral works of Michael Praetorius and Heinrich Schütz.

Catholic mass O GLORIOSA DOMINA by Marcin Mielczewski, completed with his monumental motet Triumphalis dies, as well as other works by composers of that period (like Adam Michna z Otradovic) and their italian teachers (Gabrieli, Rigatti). Compositions originated from Poland (Warsaw, Gdańsk), Czechia (Kroměříž) and Germany (Berlin).

Maria Vespers by Diego Oritz (1510–1570), Spanish composer and theoretician, who had served Catholic kings of Spain.

A series of mystical Catholic songs TRUTZNACHTIGAL by a German Jesuit Friedrich Spee (+1637). These metaforic songs have been translated to Czech in 1665 (ZDRAVOSLAVIČEK) by a Jesuit Felix Kadlinský.

CHORALABEND – a chant-and-organ evening featuring Festival Choir.

KONTAKION O NAWRÓCONEJ a hymn written by a saint common for a Catholic and Orthodox Church - Romanos the Melodist, in a form of penance service. Originally from 6th century, is a part of a heritage common for both religious denominations. Brought back to life along with a Neo-Byzantine music, is an example of a creative approach to tradition in a sense of language, form and liturgical function.

Estonian traditional, spiritual songs by Taivo Nitvägi and his LINNAMUUSIKUD.

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