The 175th anniversary of the birth of French poet Paul Verlaine is celebrated on Wednesday, in a concert inserted at the Sintra Festival, directed by conductor João Paulo Santos, whose program includes plays by António Fragoso and Alfredo Keil.
Verlaine “is one of the greatest French poets ever, an absolutely outstanding figure of the Gallic literary scene of the 1870-1900 period”, and “will be the most often musified French poet, with some 1,500 pieces based on his poetry advancing by more than 700 artists since 1871 “, according to musicologist Bernardo Mariano, who signs a text accompanying the recital program.
Titled ‘De la musique avant toute chose’, the recital on Wednesday night at the Vila Palace, in the framework of the 54th Sintra Festival, features songs by Gustave Charpentier, Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saens, Reinaldo Hahn, Edgar Varèse, Ernest Chausson, Jules Massenet, Fritz Delius, Maurice Ravel and Francesco Paolo Tosti.
The program also includes Charles Koechlin, who was a private teacher of Fernando Lopes-Graça, and the Portuguese Alfredo Keil, author of the National Anthem, and António Fragoso, who, with “mere 20 years”, chose “to music the five ‘Poèmes saturniens based, as the title implies, on the collection of poems with which Verlaine made his literary debut in 1866 “, composing ‘Sérénade’ and ‘Les coquillages’, which constitute’ testimonies of a very sensitive musician to the French music of his time, an unreserved admirer of Debussy and Ravel. ”
“In Tomar, Alfredo Keil wrote ‘A grand sommeil noir’ (in A minor), a poem that attracted numerous composers (Honegger, Stravinsky, Nadia Boulanger, Jolivet, Varèse or Ravel, among the best known). the care put in the dynamic control, the most chromatic writing of the central part, as well as the particular sensitivity that reveals to certain words of the poem “, emphasizes Mariano.
The recital is performed by tenor Marco Alves dos Santos, violinists José João Fernandes Pereira and Filipa Poejo, cellist Irene Lima, violist Joana Tavares and bassist Margarida Pereira, under the direction of João Paulo Santos, who will be at the piano.
The 54th Sintra Festival, under the motto ‘From the Court to the Streets’, runs until October 1st.
He has already presented eleven concerts in different venues of this municipality, outside Lisbon, aiming to present “the contamination between the Old World and the successive new social practices that accompanied the changes to modernity, through the trail they were leaving in the arts and music” , according to a note from the organization of the event.