Catharsis – Program Notes

CATHARSIS – Purification of a soul that has been through a tragic and painful state.

Cantaderas’ proposed program gives shape to one of the most important periods of the liturgical year: Easter time. Its importance is due to a repeating transformation: sorrow turns into happiness; grief into hope and sadness is replaced by joy. The miracle of the resurrection does not stay locked away in the church but arrives in every aspect of daily life. The old becomes new, nature revives and the end becomes a beginning.

The Easter week with its rituals and ceremonies has always been experienced as a tragedy, a theatre piece that permitted the spectator to identify with Jesus‘ resurrection, unleashing an internal catharsis: redemption of one’s sins. Thus this miracle does not stay locked away in the church but arrives in every aspect of daily life. The old becomes new, nature revives and the end becomes a beginning.

The program proposed by Cantaderas highlights this transformation with a repertoire that transports the listener from the image of pain to joy: from lent to Easter Sunday, from winter to spring, from the end of a natural cycle to the beginning of a new one.

The medieval repertoire selected comes from the Florence Manuscript, the most important source of the Notre Dame repertoire dated to the 1240s. This Manuscript includes a collection of monodic Conducti with text in Latin, known as Rondelli. Musicologists address this Rondelli as a musical curiosity, because its form and style are an exception in this repertoire. It could well be like the tip of the iceberg of a paraliturgical repertoire with popular roots that was only partially transmitted by writing, like the rest of popular music at this time.

These Latin-texted motets were sung and possibly danced by the religious community. There is some evidence for this theory. On the top of the Rondelli section in the manuscript, we find a miniature drawing of a group of monks dancing in a circle. In the first part of the program, the texts of the selected Rondelli tell us about the passion of Christ and his resurrection. In the second part, inviting the listeners to the dance and the celebration of life, the music praises the spring, the New Year and nature’s birth. The language used highlights the medieval relationship between religious life and the seasons. This relationship was sacralised by the church’s liturgical system.

The traditional repertoire chosen to frame these Rondelli, surprises by the modal, formal and thematic characteristics shared with them: pieces from the provinces of Teruel, Caceres, Burgos, Seville and Salamanca, sung by the people inside and outside the temple, liturgical and paralithurgical pieces, monodies and polyphonies express dramatically the grief of a son’s death and the joy of his resurrection.

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