Jordi Savall Launches New Festival of 'Music and History' in Southern France

Classic Arts News   Jordi Savall Launches New Festival of 'Music and History' in Southern France
"Music and History: For an Intercultural Dialogue," a new festival directed by conductor and viola da gamba virtuoso Jordi Savall, opens tonight at the Fontfroide Abbey near Narbonne, in the Languedoc region of southern France.

The seven-concert festival runs through Sunday, August 13 and will explore the relationship between Christian, Jewish and Arab musical cultures in the pre-16th-century Mediterranean basin. The lineup features performances by Savall, his wife Montserrat Figueras and Savall's ensembles Hesp_rion XXI, Le Concert des Nations and La Capella Real de Catalunya; they will be joined by musicians from Morocco, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey.

Among the highlights of the festival is the concert on Saturday evening (August 12): "At the Dawn of the Renaissance: A Time of Exile and Discoveries" will examine in music the fall of Constantinople, the reconquest of Granada, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and the discovery of the New World. The final concert, "The Route to the New World," will explore musical connections between Europe and the Americas after 1492.

At a press conference held last month and reported by Agence France-Presse, beginning next year, the festival will be expanded to an annual ten-day event featuring concerts and master classes. performances and masterclasses next year, according to Agence France Presse.

The Abbey of Fontfroide was founded as a Benedictine monastery in 1093 and became affiliated with the Cistercians in 1145. The cloisters and chapter house date from the 12th century. Savall and Figueras are already familiar with the Abbey's superb acoustics: they chose it as the venue for her most recent recording, made last year.

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