Friday, 15 February 2013

Upcoming Lenten Concert : Crucifixus

by Schola Cantorum Jubilate

Crucifixus Lenten Concert - Poster

In this time of the year, in Malta, one still finds the old traditions woven with religion and consequently many activities, exhibitions, concerts and delicacies are within reach during the Lenten Period.

Considered as one of 'tempi forti' for the Catholic Church, the Lenten Period inspired various artists and masterpieces depicting the Passion and Resurrection of Christ can be found around the world in the major museums and churches. Such inspiration captured also the harmony within composers and the most meditative pieces in the musical heritage are those related to the Lenten Period.

For the coming 23rd March 2013, Schola Cantorum Jubilate is preparing for a combination of art, music and literature in one evening. 'Crucifixus' is the title given to their next concert which will be held at the Xagħra Parish Church. The musical part to be performed by the choir includes pieces by Croce, Palestrina, Bartolucci, Stainer and Portelli among others. Worth a mention is the masterpiece by Allegri, the 'Miserere'. It is a setting to Psalm 51 and was composed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably during 1630s. It was written for the Papal Sistine Chapel to be sung during the matins, as part of the tenebræ service on Wednesday and Friday of the Holy Week. This piece is written for two choirs: one of five and the other of four voices. It is an example of Renaissance polyphony surviving to present day and it is also considered one of the sublime a cappella choral works. Another two pieces will be performed by soprano Marouska Attard who is also the concert's conductor and by Bass Albert Buttigieg. The soloists will be accompanied by Dr. Joseph Camilleri on the church organ.

Special lights setting will help the audience contemplate the mystery of salvation and at the same time admire the Crucifixus which was brought from Lecce precisely one hundred years ago. A special devotion for the crucifix started at the Parish of Xagħra since 1718. In 1913, a brand new large scale Crucifix arrived at Xagħra. It is the work of a renowned sculptor Luigi Guacci in papier mâché. Art experts consider this crucifix as a fine execution of deep realism and depicts the Cristo Morto with a life-less body nailed to the cross.

Literature is included as well in this concert. Between musical pieces, meditations highlighting the cross will be read. These are penned by Fr. Joseph Bajada, who was inspired from writings by Fr. José Miguel Ibáñez Langlois and Pope Benedict XVI. Mario Micallef, a well-known Maltese actor will be interpreting the text with his unique expressivity. Moreover, on this same occasion, a new book will be launched. It is entitled 'The Good Friday Procession at Xagħra' which includes an article about the origins of the Procession and a guide for all those who will attend for the Procession.

Surely this is an opportunity which must not be missed. Music lovers will have sufficient time to enjoy listening to sacred music. Art lovers will admire the Baroque from Lecce which is featured in the set of statues representing various stages in the Passion of Christ and which are unique in our country. Those fond of literature will surely find food for thought in the readings and in the book which can be acquired as a keepsake. The latter in written in both Maltese and English languages.

Everyone is invited for 'Crucifixus' on Saturday 23rd March 2013 at the Basilica of Marija Bambina in Xagħra, Gozo. The concert starts at 7.30pm. More details can be found on the choir website Crucifixus Event page or on the choir Facebook Page.

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