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Centro Cultural de Belém

Cycle Sacredness in Western Music

Rui Vieira Nery

Days: 19.26 september 2015

Schedule: 5PM at 6PM

Days: 3.10.17 october 2015 

Schedule: 5PM at 6PM

Age: +12


    Cycle: 5 sessions €20
    Per session: €5 (no discount)

    30% Individual, Young Person’s and Senior Citizens’ Card
    20% Family Card
    25% Under 25 and over 65


Ever since the beginning of the Christian liturgy, Music has followed a tradition inherited both from Classical Antiquity and Judaism, playing an essential role in religious worship. The Church’s decisive influence over European cultural life, which can even be considered to have been almost exclusive until the late Middle Ages, meant that, over the centuries, the sacred repertoire formed the hard core of erudite musical creation, from the establishment of the various musical-liturgical rites in plainsong to the birth and consolidation of polyphony. Even the growing emergence of a profane repertoire from the Renaissance onwards did not call this predominance into question, and it is rare to find major composers who, until the advent of Romanticism, did not devote most of their activity to Sacred Music, whether this formed part of the Catholic tradition or was linked to the various Protestant confessions, both in Europe and North and South America. The gradual secularisation of society and the split that this brought between the western artistic elites and the patronage of the Church, beginning with the revolutionary breaks with the past that took place in the 19th century, greatly reduced the importance of the sacred musical genres in the erudite repertoire, and caused religious themes to preferentially appear in works that were intended to be played in concert halls and were no longer to be used just for the purposes of worship, frequently under the form of non-liturgical masses  and oratorios. Yet, in this last category, we find many of the most representative masterpieces of Romanticism and Modernism; and the sudden appearance of Postmodernity, towards the end of the20th century, would in some ways help to encourage the revival of a connection between contemporary composers and the dimension of the sacred, even though this was frequently seen from a non-confessional viewpoint. These five sessions therefore seek to offer a commentated journey through some of the masterpieces of western Sacred Music in the last millennium, attempting to place them within the historical and cultural context of each period, as manifestations of a constant need (albeit a permanently reformulated one) for a relationship with the divine as an essential aspect of the human condition itself.

Rui Vieira Nery

Production | CCB

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