Digital Concert: The Odyssey of Kryštof Harant
“… the evening provided what felt like a secret portal into a vibrantly multicultural distant time,” Janet Smith, Stir Vancouver
This concert was originally recorded on December 1, 2022.
Artists: Ensemble Cappella Mariana directed by Vojtěch Semerád, Constantinople directed by Kiya Tabassian, and narrator Bill Richardson
The life journey of the Czech nobleman, traveller, humanist, soldier, writer and composer Kryštof Harant from Polžice and Bezdružice ended prematurely on the Old Town Square in Prague on June 21, 1621, when he was executed for participating in the Protestant Bohemian Revolt. The goal of this project of Ensemble Cappella Mariana is to present his surviving compositions and introduce listeners to his literary legacy – his record of a unique trip to the Middle East which he chronicled in his book Journey from Bohemia to the Holy Land, by way of Venice and the Sea published in 1608. During the 16th and 17th centuries the vibrancy of music – and art in general – founded on Eastern traditions from Persia to the Eastern Mediterranean, contributed to the creation of multicultural societies. Dialogue and mutual enrichment between artists of different cultures were commonplace. We find evidence of these musical and cultural exchanges in period works that appear in musical manuscripts of 17th century Ottoman, Persian and post-Byzantine origin. In this concert, these compositions will be combined with other masterpieces surviving for centuries through the oral tradition and handed down from one generation to the next; together they provide a comprehensive picture of the atmosphere and local colour of the places Harant himself visited and the music he heard on his travels.
Harant’s colourful work, narrated by Bill Richardson, will guide you on a musical journey to the exotic lands of Cyprus, Jerusalem, Sinai, and Cairo. “The Journey is like a beacon which will act as a guide for both ensembles – a geographical, historical, cultural and inner voyage of discovery to distant horizons,” says Vojtech Semerad, director of Cappella Mariana.
Pre-Concert Talk at 7 p.m.: Sylvia L’Ecuyer in conversation with Vojtech Semerad (Director, Cappella Mariana) and Kiya Tabassian (Director, Constantinople).
This concert is generously supported by Marianne Gibson and Delma Hemming.
This concert is also made possible through the support of the Ministry of Culture of Czech Republic, The Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec.