Song of Our Roots

XXIX Song of Our Roots festival

saliens in montibus, transiliens colles

Nearness. It turns out to be stronger than the passage of time, more lasting than the borders and barriers of space. It is probably the most delicate and the most perfect instrument for straightening the paths, lowering the hills, and leaping across those mountains which here on earth cannot be smoothened yet.

Nearness resounds in remembering our masters and friends: in the music played by Marcel Pérès for Maciej Kaziński on a historical piano from his collection.

Lithuanian songs, which have their twins in Polish (and Latin), were transmitted for ages in the spoken tradition. They remind us about the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, its two lungs, mutual encounters and influences, about creating culture together and being near, then and now.

Our memory about Josquin on the 500th death anniversary, which we recall during both workshops and concerts, may be a way to remember our masters – and (if only we dared to use such an expression) friends. The longue durée of his music in the performance practice, as well as creative elaborations of his works (both ways to keep them alive), prove that despite the differences of time the music remains near, and that the same musical language can be used by several generations of singers, even from different centuries.

The instrumental concerts of this year – both the first one, to be played by Bruno Cocset and Arte dei Suonatori, and the nocturnal solo concert of Justyna Rekść-Raubo – are, by their nature, intimate narrations. Only in nearness one can speak about what is between the light and the darkness of the soul, and only in nearness one can receive such a talk.

In the Armenian vespers and service for the departed we can find the threads connecting this world to what is beyond – such as in the music for our deceased masters and friends; the threads that connect different parts of a multicultural Commonwealth; the threads that connect different languages and ages, enabling nearness between what could be perceived as distant in space and time.

The festival is inherently accompanied by thinking about the tradition: it is an untold theme of all its editions. May we think that nearness is the second name of the tradition – which bounds together different languages and ages, this world and what is beyond; which enables proximity where apparently there is a distance? May we tell – taking risks of touching the utmost matters – that tradition is among the aspects of communio sanctorum, among the tones of hope, and that in the perennial rhythm of recurrent chants and signs it gives a vertical dimension and direction to the time?

The vespers of Saturday evening – welcoming the Lord’s Day – tell us also that the day begins already when it is invisible, and it is probably the longing for it that makes it possible to appear and to come. Every Sunday is, after all, a memory of that moment in which things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human.