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More early music, please

The weekend before last, the annual meeting of the Asociación de Festivales de Música Clásica, “Festclásica”, was held in Orense. This association brings together over forty music festivals held throughout the peninsula and is intended to present the festivals and the activities they organise. I participated as representative of the Festivales de San Lorenzo in El Escorial. FestClásica carries out two annual projects that I would like to draw attention to here. The first is the commission offered to twelve composers to compose short works around the theme " Una Iberia para Albéniz" (An Iberia for Albéniz), in memory of the Spanish maestro. And these will be premiered by the pianist Juan Carlos Garbayo, with the release of a CD to follow. The second project relates to the “Comisión de música antigua” (Early Music Commission) organised by some of the festivals (Quincena, Aranjuez and Zamora). This involved the award of three prizes for the recovery by an early music ensemble of an unpublished work from the Spanish musical heritage. The winners were:
  1. Alia Música for the liturgy El Alma Lastimada, conductor Miguel Ángel Sánchez
  2. El Concierto Español for Ifigenia en Tracia by José de Nebra, conductor Emilio Moreno
  3. La Grand Chapelle for Canto del Alma by Cristóbal Galán, conductor Albert Recasens
On the occasion of the presentation of these awards and taking advantage of free time available while travelling by bus in Galicia, I have reviewed the discography of some of these groups. What is obvious is that early music from Spain has possessed and still possesses unrivalled strength and energy, and enjoys an international reputation, and that the public interest it attracts responds to none other than its high quality and enviable good shape. In this sense the excellent level of some of these groups in general and some musicians in particular deserves special mention. The three groups have developed some very interesting programs of the highest quality, and the level of the performances on the recordings is extraordinary, besides these being splendidly presented. The fact that in the last 30 years many Spanish musicians have left to study in countries more specialized in this genre, and many of them have returned and are now working as teachers in conservatories and schools around the country, has led to a notable improvement in the level of the students. Such a high level of musical expertise is now evident when playing these repertoires that this country has ended up by overtaking those countries that previously served us as a model. The truth is that as director of Tritó Edicions, and after personally witnessing this high level of both recording and playing at the weekend, I feel that we should consider issuing some of the scores of these as yet unpublished Spanish works in order to round off the work that these groups, thanks to their energy and initiative, are carrying out. Congratulations to everyone who has made this happen and I cherish the hope that the festivals and the authorities will continue promoting and further supporting (much more) all this movement. Llorenç Caballero Director of Tritó Edicions