Third Mafra Organ Festival premieres historic organs

The six historic organs of Mafra will be heard again at the III International Festival of Organ of Mafra, between April 27 and May 12, a year after being subject to conservation works, was announced today.

According to the organization of the festival, the first concert of the six historical organs of the Basilica of the National Palace of Mafra happens on May 4, integrated into the III International Festival of Organ of Mafra, in the district of Lisbon.

The organists João Vaz, Inês Machado, Sérgio Silva, Margarida Oliveira, Diogo Rato Pombo and Daniela Moreira join the group Voes Caelestes for the modern hearing of the Mass for three choirs and six organs “Gloria in Excelsis, in Gloria dei Patris e Credo “, an eighteenth-century manuscript found in the palace library, attributed to an Italian author of unknown identity.

The artistic director of the festival, João Vaz, who accompanied the restoration of those instruments concluded in 2010, explained that last year’s intervention was mainly a work of “harmonization” of that unique set in the world.

The silence of the organs was imminent, which was inconceivable,” said the mayor, Hélder Sousa Silva, justifying the investment of 150 thousand euros of the autarchy in these works.

The six historical organs of the Palace of Mafra are heard again the next day, marking the return of the annual program of concerts of this whole group, every first Sunday of each month.

The organists Sérgio Silva, André Ferreira, David Paccetti Correia, Margarida Oliveira, Diogo Rato Pombo and Daniela Moreira propose works by Charpentier, Leal Moreira and Lully, among them the transcription of the prelude “Te Deum“, the first, and the “Symphony to the Royal Basilica of Mafra “, of the second.

Of the program of this edition, there is the last concert, on May 12, of organists of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music of the Vatican that will interpret works of Frescobaldi, Bonelli and Cabezón in the six historical organs of the palace.

Let’s have a kind of revisit of the dream of Dom Joao V [the king who had the palace built], which was to bring Rome to Portugal,” said the artistic director.

The III Festival of the Organ of Mafra begins on April 27 with an organ concert by Rui Paiva and a bevelled flute by Pedro Couto Soares at the organ of the Church of Gradil, where works of Castelo, Pachelbel and Bach, from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The next day, the Russian Olga Zhukova will play compositions by the Germans Kerll, Bach, of the eighteenth century, and Philip Glass, in the Church of St. Peter of Ericeira, demonstrating that “ancient organs can be adapted to recent works.”

On May 3, the Church of the Incarnation receives the concert of Aurore Baal, who received the title of Young Organist of 2017 and was the winner of the contest of Innsbrück. The organist will interpret French, Italian and Iberian compositions, including authors such as Carreira, Titelouze, Trabaci and Seixas.

On May 10, the Church of Santo André de Mafra hosts the concert for choir and organ, with the Ensemble Lusiovoce and the organists Sérgio Silva and Clara Alcobia Coelho to propose contemporary compositions inspired by the Gregorian chant.

The next day, the festival joins the sonorities of the organ (by João Vaz), the cornetto (by Tiago Simas Freire), a characteristic instrument of the 16th and 17th centuries, fallen into disuse, and medieval bagpipe, interpreting works of Monteverdi, Gabrieli and Frescobaldi, linked to the liturgical practice.

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