"In the spring, cherry blossoms, in the summer the cuckoo.
In autumn the moon, and in winter the snow, clear, cold."
Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)
Capuchos Music Festival 2023 is inspired by the seasons of the year, building an arc of four centuries that opens with the unavoidable Le Quattro Stagioni, composed by Vivaldi 300 years ago, and closes with the Portuguese premiere of The American Four Seasons written by Philip Glass in 2009, to which are added the cycles of seasons by Tchaikovsky, in the 19th century, and by Piazzolla, in the 20th century.
The succession of seasons is one of our evidences of the passage of time, and the Capuchos Music Festival 2023 will present concerts dedicated to various temporal dimensions: choral works from the time of the foundation of the Convento dos Capuchos, the Renaissance; the time of creation in Darius Milhaud's La Création du Monde; repertoire inspired by summer time, such as Hector Berlioz's Les Nuits d’Eté, Samuel Barber's Summer Music, George Gershwin's Summertime; the time of the redemptive apocalypse in Olivier Messiaen's Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps...
Festival de Música dos Capuchos 2023 will be held, as usual, at the place that gives it its name, Convento dos Capuchos, and, for the first time, will present three concerts at Teatro Municipal Joaquim Benite. Renowned artists and ensembles will be present, including, internationally, "I Solisti Veneti", the "Franz Liszt" Orchestra of Budapest, and the Hermès Quartet of Paris, joined by national reference groups such as Officium Ensemble, DSCH Shostakovich Ensemble, and 100 Caminhos. Among the great international soloists of various generations who will be present, the piano grand seigneur Stephen Kovacevich, for more than half a century among the world's elite, will offer us a recital with works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Alban Berg.
Throughout the festival, works by several Portuguese composers from various "eras", from the Renaissance to contemporary music, will be performed, with premieres and the highlight being the concert "Carte Blanche to António Victorino d'Almeida", marking his remarkable 70 years of artistic activity.
It is also worth mentioning that the Capuchos Music Festival will present the Portuguese premiere of works by two of the most influential composers of the last decades, namely Orient & Occident (2000) by Arvo Pärt, and American Four Seasons (2009) by Philip Glass.
The cycle of the already emblematic "Capuchos Talks", curated and moderated by Carlos Vaz Marques, will be dedicated to the centenary of three great names in Portuguese literature: Mário Cesariny de Vasconcelos, Natália Correia, and Eugénio de Andrade - curiously, all three were born precisely in 1923!
In this 2023 edition, Capuchos Music Festival inaugurates its relevant educational axis, with the presentation of the Capuchos Masterclasses, oriented by professors from the Paris, Salzburg and Lucerne Conservatories.
Also for the first time, a set of pre-concert talks, called Capuchos Preludes, will be presented, moderated by João Almeida. And the festival will also be complemented by activities of ecological and patrimonial awareness, such as a cultural Visit to the historical heritage of the Convento dos Capuchos and a Walk in the surroundings of the convent, inserted in the Protected Landscape of the Fossil Cliff of Costa da Caparica, which presents important natural values that should be known and valued.
I will finally dwell on the extraordinary music of the last concert of this Festival, the Quartet for the End of Time, a masterpiece premiered during World War II, in 1941, when Messiaen was imprisoned in a Nazi camp and composed this manifesto of faith and redemption, in a time of horror that today echoes with great resonance in a time of war in which Europe has been plunged for over a year…
The ultimate goal of the Capuchos Music Festival is to celebrate art and community life, to build bridges of understanding and peace among people through the magnificent universal language that is music.
Many thanks to all those who make Festival de Música dos Capuchos possible, starting with Câmara Municipal de Almada and its municipal services, the Direcção-Geral das Artes, the Main Sponsor BPI/Fundação "la Caixa", the Companhia de Teatro de Almada, the Âmbito Cultural do El Corte Inglés, RTP Antena 2 and, last but not least, the tireless team of the DSCH Associação Musical responsible for the Festival organization.
The poem that serves as the epigraph to this text was written in the 13th century by the Zen Buddhist master Eihei Dogen. In the apparent yet expressive simplicity with which he describes the beauty of the seasons, Dogen connects us to the essence of elements that follow one another in the rhythm of the seasons. Dogen gave the title Innate Spirit to his poem, a spirit of contemplation, discovery, and sharing that inspires this 2023 edition of the Capuchos Music Festival.
Artistic Director of Capuchos Music Festival