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History in two concerts

Photographer: Maria Montenegro

More stories from Habana Clásica…

On the tenth month of 1885, the National Conservatory of Music, the first of its kind in the city, was inaugurated at number 100 Paseo del Prado in Havana. It was the work of Hubert de Blanck, a Cuban in his own right, who preached a life of alternation between the Mambi Army, piano pedagogue and composer. The Dutchman, who came to Cuba to play Rubinstein before a foreign audience, fell in love with the country and settled permanently in Havana.

De Blanck, who loved the country so much that he wrote the first opera of its independence, Patria, contributed like no one else to its musical flourishing and, after compiling some forgotten scores, his musical spirit is rescued on the occasion of the IV Edition of the Habana Clásica Festival, a festival that will remain in history not only for its program but also for premiering works of which there is no record in the past. Marcos Madrigal, Artistic Director, is dedicating a monographic concert as a tribute to this Dutch composer turned Cuban, bringing together a luxury cast that will also get closer to his origins. For this purpose, he has invited the Dutch Tijmen Huisingh and Willem Stam, violin and cello, respectively, together with the piano of Karla Martínez, the violin of Lisbet Sevila and on the viola, Anolan González, three Cubans to the stage. Premiere quintet, scores found in old archives, to be recorded in the historical memory and documented in the musical heritage.

But Havana is the muse of Masters, nineteenth-century and present. Inspiration of linked sensibilities. Thus we arrive at José María Vitier, Maestro so beloved by the Cuban people, author of so many works that have marked the individual, national memory, fruit of the illustrious Vitier García Marruz family. He offers us, once again, together with the National Symphony Orchestra, the most beautiful work that written for the city, around its five hundred years, Habana Concerto. A walk through five centuries of Havana’s sonority. From baroque to contemporaneity.

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Three movements and an Epilogue: Portico, with the flute of Master Niurka González, as if conceived for its subtlety, Mediopunto for violin, by the young Yilian Concepción as soloist, who gives us an overwhelming presentation, and Vitral, on the piano of Marcos Madrigal, who plays as if the work were his own, giving us the virtuosity that Vitier dreamed of for his work. The Epilogue brings together the entire orchestra and the three soloists for a formidable last movement in which there is no lack of typical Cuban melodies that, like a prayer for its destiny, as Silvia Rodríguez wrote so well, rises as a tribute to the future of the city.

Photograph by: Maria Montenegro

Habana Clásica, a project of many lights, moves around the city as if to take possession of its times. Two concerts for Havana, out of the Historic Center, scattered in places of premiere for the Festival: the Oratorio San Felipe Neri, on the corner of Obrapía and Aguiar, founded in the 17th century and the Covarrubias Hall of the National Theater, which brings music closer to the most modern segments of the city of Havana.

Two concerts that are already in history and will be remembered, archived, studied and interpreted decades, centuries later, by new generations. Today, thanks to the Festival, a product of the collaboration of the Swiss Embassy in Cuba, leading donor of this edition, together with the Office of the Historian of the City, and its commitment to safeguard the Cuban musical heritage, we are protagonists of this history.

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