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"Apocalipsis" at the SMR in Cuenca

The second day of the Cuenca Religious Music Week, 17 April, saw the premiere of the latest work by Jesús Torres. Apocalipsis, specially commissioned for the Festival, is an ambitious project that counted on the participation of the Ensemble Residencias, the French choir Accentus and the Gregorian choir Schola Antiqua, all of them conducted by Nacho de Paz. The old church known as the Iglesia de la Merced, a beautiful religious space converted into a library, was the venue of the premiere. As its title indicates, Apocalipsis is based on bible texts from the Book of Revelation written by St John of Patmos. The composer has divided the work into seven parts, each seven minutes long, combining Latin and Spanish in the choral lyrics. And two mixed choirs, a Gregorian choir and the ensemble – consisting of seven percussionists, two pianos, two trumpets, two horns, four trombones and an oboe – constitute a group of 49 musicians (7×7), distributed in seven spaces, thus giving special importance to both the numerical symbolism and the spatial organisation, specially thought out for the venue of the premiere. The public, with the venue packed out, was situated at the centre of this whole spatial arrangement and experienced the “revelation” first hand. Several minutes of applause capped this unforgettable event during which Torres’ music carried us from the seven seals to New Jerusalem. The music evolves to express the text and also develops its own descriptive identity, making the most of the special characteristics of the instruments and the fabulous performers on hand for the occasion. Following on from works like Evocación and Sinfonía, Jesus Torres has achieved the perfect fusion of music and lyrics in this piece, without detriment to the particular qualities of these two components. With each new project it becomes clearer and clearer that he is one of the most important composers of contemporary music in Spain.