As part of the Festival Internacional del Arte Sacro 2024 of the Comunidad de Madrid, the Instituto Francés of Madrid presents a concert by the Franco-Spanish Baroque Ensemble El Gran Teatro del Mundo, which will perform Emoción y Dramatismo en la música religiosa del siglo de Oro francés (Emotion and drama in the religious music of the French Golden Age), at the Basílica San Miguel (Calla San Justo, 4) on 15 February at 7.30 pm. Free admission until full capacity is reached.
The programme opens with the Litany of the Virgin H.84. In this solemn work, each verse of the prayer has its own character according to the meaning of the text, which mainly lists qualities attributed to the Virgin Mary.
After the selection of David et Jonathas, the Magnificat takes its place, which has as its text the words which, according to the Gospel of St. Luke, the Virgin Mary pronounced. The Magnificat is written entirely on a bass lament of only four notes, which is repeated more than 80 times and which in the Baroque period was used at moments of particular emotional exaltation. In turn, its structure is reminiscent of a dance – the passacaille – whose characteristic strength is used to portray the intensity of this gospel passage.
The programme concludes with the monumental lamentation for the death of Maria Theresa of Austria, wife of Louis XIV. Far from the cold state mourning we might expect, Charpentier turns the grief at the death of the Spanish queen into something truly transcendent and tragic in this masterpiece.
The ensemble El Gran Teatro del Mundo, under the direction of Julio Caballero Pérez, is a great exponent of French baroque, although its programmes range from 17th century German to classical repertoire. Since its foundation in 2016, it has performed at numerous festivals and venues such as the Oude Muziek Utrecht, Urbino Musica Antica, the Riga Early Music Festival, the Festival d’Ambronay, the Festtage Alte Musik Basel, the Centro Botín in Santander, the Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels (Bozar), the International Festival of Sacred Art in Madrid and the Festival Llums d’Antiga in Barcelona.