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  • HOMENATGE AL MISTERI D’ELX
  • HOMENATGE AL MISTERI D’ELX
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HOMENATGE AL MISTERI D’ELX
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Reference: AV9836

  • La Capella Reial de Catalunya
  • Jordi Savall

A people’s spiritual identity, expressed through its love and veneration for the Virgin Mary, together with the mystery of the Virgin’s death and assumption, are the main inspiration for the wonderful Mystery Play of Elche. Like the ancient Song of the Sibyl, so deeply rooted in Catalonia, Valencia and, in particular, Majorca, this sacred musical drama is a rare and extraordinary example of an outstandingly beautiful musical treasure kept alive over the centuries by the determination, tradition and fervour of an entire people. It is a prime example of the “crucial axis” so aptly described by Jean-Marie Domenach in his Europe: le défi culturel: “The true importance of culture lies less in the richness of a particular cultural heritage than in the way that value is attached to it, and underpinning that value there is a project, which in turn is underpinned by a will… And here we come to the crucial axis: that will, which is capable of keeping a culture alive, must stem from within the culture itself, from its traditions and values”.

Description

A people’s spiritual identity, expressed through its love and veneration for the Virgin Mary, together with the mystery of the Virgin’s death and assumption, are the main inspiration for the wonderful Mystery Play of Elche. Like the ancient Song of the Sibyl, so deeply rooted in Catalonia, Valencia and, in particular, Majorca, this sacred musical drama is a rare and extraordinary example of an outstandingly beautiful musical treasure kept alive over the centuries by the determination, tradition and fervour of an entire people. It is a prime example of the “crucial axis” so aptly described by Jean-Marie Domenach in his Europe: le défi culturel: “The true importance of culture lies less in the richness of a particular cultural heritage than in the way that value is attached to it, and underpinning that value there is a project, which in turn is underpinned by a will… And here we come to the crucial axis: that will, which is capable of keeping a culture alive, must stem from within the culture itself, from its traditions and values”. In the case of Elche, we have a rich heritage matched by a people who have demonstrated their ability to recognise its value through a collective Project and a common Will to keep it alive from generation to generation. Thanks to their efforts, and grounded in its own intrinsic values and tradition, an original culture has been preserved and continues to develop in our own times.

For all these reasons, when in 2001 UNESCO proclaimed the sacred musical drama of the Mystery Play of Elche a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, this symbolic recognition came as a well-deserved tribute to a people that has succeeded in keeping alive the memory of a centuries-old tradition. At long last, a musical performance, preserved essentially through an oral tradition and which is, by its very nature, ephemeral, existing only for the length of time that it takes to be performed, has been ranked on a par with the great masterpieces – cities, temples, palaces, architectural groups – created throughout history by human civilisation.

All those of us who admire the Mystery Play of Elche rejoice in the distinction conferred on it by an international organisation of such emblematic importance, because it also firmly establishes the precedent of parity between the tangible and the intangible artistic heritage, marking full recognition of the artistic and spiritual value of the intangible treasures of Humanity, of which music is among the most universal and extraordinary.

In the present recording, therefore, we wish to pay tribute to the people of Elche, and to the Choir and Orchestra and members of the Mystery of Elche Trust, whose perseverance, sensitivity, generosity and love for the play succeed year after year in bringing its artistic and spiritual essence to life.

JORDI SAVALL
Vienna, 26th March 2004