Musicologist Tania Vicente León spoke these words to advocate for her passion, antique music. The instruments and notes of music are vessels that hold and transport the history of many cultures, she explained.
Ms. Vicente along with her husband Juan Carlos Soto Marín and María Clara Vargas are organizers of Festival de Música Antigua de Costa Rica that begins Tuesday. Each have an intensive background in the field and have studied overseas. Both Ms. Vicente and Ms. Vargas teach at the Universidad de Costa Rica.The antique music festival seeks to revive historical Renaissance, Baroque and Medieval music in the country. The music is one that brings instruments like the first piano or harpsichord and stringed finger-plucked instruments such as the Baroque guitar and lute back to life.
It is also a genre that Ms. Vicente as a Spanish lute player describes as creating a feeling of peace.“The music is very tranquil and it connects me with my spirit. I can’t describe it more,” she said.
This connection with a persons inner soul and wordless interpretation of emotion is what makes the ancient music pleasurable, she added.
“In academic music today it doesn’t matter if you like it. It’s about intellect. But in the period of this music, you had to be emotional and intellectual,” Ms. Vicente said.
The idea of the festival began with composer Otto Castro. The organizers shared his vision of promoting this type of music.
Since its start in 2006, the international festival has brought the country Renaissance, Baroque and Medieval music as a way to promote this genre and allow patrons to experience hearing live 16th century music with replica instruments true to the original form, said Ms. Vicente.
Everything about the concert from the custom-made instruments to the choice of the venue is designed to enhance listener’s experience. Patrons will be directed to Teatro Nacional’s foyer, an area that was initially created as a social gathering place before and during concerts in the main hall.
Now the old second-floor snack and meeting room has been converted into a small hall with seating for up to 100 persons. The environment is personal and creates an atmosphere where partakers can really hear the sound and be intimate with the music, the couple explained.
“This festival offers us the opportunity to repurpose the sound less known to this country,” said Soto. “This is why we prefer to offer our concerts in the foyer of Teatro Nacional. It is fine with our sound of music.”
Unfortunately, the sound is something that modern humans may never be able to fully appreciate, noted Ms. Vicente. The daily noise pollution has destroyed some auditory perception.
“If you could bring in a time machine and get one instrument from the past and compare it with an instrument from today, it is possible that our music is more profound because we are more deaf,” said Soto.
As musicologist and historians, the group has tried their best to keep the music as authentic as possible. They study iconography, or antique prints of the instruments, books once written from aristocrats on how to play the instruments and original music made from reprinted microfilms from the era.
“To make a good performance in this music, you must know the history well.” stressed Soto. “You also must have the original music. It’s the difference if you are serious or not.”
Being serious also requires builders of instruments like Soto to visit museums, see original instruments and buy the plans. If no plan is available, the person may have to get the museum to x-ray the instrument and make their own blueprint.
However, both Soto and Ms. Vicente say that the output is worth it because they are restoring art. This desire to keep knowledge of this music alive is also what led to the group creating this festival, something sponsored solely by the organizers.
Syntagma Musicum, a Costa Rica antique music group, will open the show Tuesday. The group is composed of six different artists. These instruments are the recorder, vihula de mano, harpsichord, lute and percussion. The final member is a singer.
The final group which will conclude the series Oct. 20 is Ganassi of Costa Rica. Ganassi has a transverse flute player, two Baroque violinists, a harpsichord player, singer, percussionists and lute player.
This group received the Premio Nacional de Música 2009 from Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, an achievement that was important because it signified the acknowledgement that historical music was important to the government, said Ms. Vicente.
Baroque guitarists Hugo Peñaloza from México, transverse flutists Concilio Sonoro from México, and harpsichord player Sonia Lee from Canada will play as invited guests throughout the week.
For more information visit http://www.musicaantigua.net/.