The Semana de Música Religiosa de Cuenca, one of the most important annual meetings in the world during Easter, celebrated its 57th edition between March 24th and April 8th 2018. Since 1962, the Festival of Cuenca has been set to screen in world premiere of new sacred works and the revival of rare repertoire, trying to gather different aesthetics, genres and ensembles, by way of the most prestigious international performers.
In his second year as artistic director, the conductor Cristóbal Soler continued committed to a ‘sustainable project, giving priority to excellence and quality, as well as a varied programme, open to all publics, with the purpose of preserving tradition representing its more than a half century of life, with a new impetus, connecting past and the novel: the Academia SMR, which integrate the Choir, Orchestra and Soloists of the SMR’.
SMR - GREAT ORATORIOS (Passion Week)
Great oratorios were the leitmotiv of the main programme of this edition: St. Mathew Passion by J. S. Bach, with Les Musiciens du Louvre and Marc Minkovski; Magnificat by Juan José Colomer (work commissioned by the SMR, absolute premiere) and Mass No. 2 in E minor by Anton Bruckner, performed by the Coro RTVE, Spanish Brass and soloists of the Orquesta Sinfónica RTVE, under the baton of Javier Corcoran; St. John Passion by J. S. Bach, with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, conducted by Ton Koopmans; Requiem by W. A. Mozart, with the Orquesta y Coro del Festival, conducted by its principal conductor Cristóbal Soler; and Mass in B minor by Bach, with the Conductus Ensemble and Andoni Sierra.
SMR - ANTIGUA (Between lights and darkness)
A recovery of the sacred patrimony of the Cuenca Cathedral: a release in modern times of the Misa policoral (Misa a 8 sine nomine) of the chapel maestro Alonso Xuárez de la Fuente (1640-1696), with he Coro de la Academia SMR and the Escolanía Ciudad de Cuenca, conducted by Carlos Lozano; Juan Carlos Asensio and Schola Antiqua featured the Oficio de Vísperas in the Cuenca Cathedral, In Festo Annuntiationis Beatae Mariae Virginis.
SMR - CONTEMPORÁNEA (Dies Irae)
Francisco Coll, a composer in residence of the 57th edition of the SMR, presented his work and directed the Composition Workshop of the SMR Academy in which six young composers presented their creations, based on the motive of Dies Irae, of the Mass of Requiem and talked to six conductors. José Luis Temes, presented ‘Proyecto LUZ: Sinfonismo español iluminado’, with the screening of the film Exequias para Fernando Zóbel, with music by José Luis Turina, and Rimas Infantiles, with music by María Rodrigo. Cruz Novillo featured her concert Cronocromofónico, a synesthetic exercise of sound and colour.
A social project The Pied Piper of Hamelin with soloists of the Academia SMR and opera in family and school performances of The Little Sweep by Britten, with the Academia SMR and the Escolanía Ciudad de Cuenca.
SMR - CLOSE TO
I Jornadas de Música Religiosa ‘Bach, Mozart, Bruckner: new ears, new perspectives’, with outstanding professors of the UCLM, masterclasses entrusted to artists participating in the 57th edition of SMR, like Juan Carlos Asensio (Gregorian Chant), the tenor Ramón Vargas (Passion for singing) and Spanish Brass (Spanish Brass: 30 years of music), and a rehearsal open to the public, the Requiem by Mozart, with Cristóbal Soler.
SMR - TRANSVERSE
The orchestra, choir and soloists of the SMR performed the Requiem by Mozart in Tarancón, Talavera de la Reina and Valdepeñas.