Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One day in Casa de Música of Porto, Portugal

The day was great! Sunny, relaxed, with the sound of seagulls over our heads.
"Where does music go when we don´t listen anymore"?... I was thinking.
This sort message by a child voice was adapted by the Third Program of Greek National Radio. The classical lovers were listened to it for years, between the broadcasts.

Having visited the Casa de Música in Porto, i experienced again that music slides to the memory and if it's interesting, lovely, lively, the conscious searches for it again and again. Music has the strength to create new needs, emotions, connections.
I felt highly motivated for several reasons. The concert i had booked was consisted of four different works of four composers of our times. Then, it was a new concert hall and i knew it represents many trends of music, with references from Early Music to digital creations, remixes and so on  So it was not a Symphonic or Philarmonic Orchestra, but the "Banda Sinfónica Portuguesa". Moreover, it was the participation of a child chorus. My friends were highly recommending it. Last, but not least, the monthly programme of the Casa de Música was presenting "Theseus Journey" as the principle work of this concert.
Let´s see the program, as it was written at the sheet of paper available for free:

Alfred Reed
Puncinello [1973, 7 min.]

Luis Cardoso
Cançóes de Pessoa- 4 cançiones sobre poemas de Fernando Pessoa, para coro juvenil e banda de concerto [2012, 15 min.]
    1. Havia un menino
    2. Intervalo
    3. Sou em guardador de rebanhos
    4. Bendito eja o mesmo sol de outras terras

Kris Roemers
Theseus' Journey, poema sinfónico em trés partes [2012, 20 min.]
    1. A Profecia e Viagem para Atenas
    2. Navegando para Creta, encontrando o Rei Minos
    3. Ariadne e a Batalha com o Minotauro

Bert Appermont
Egmont, Poema Sunfónico [2004, 17 min.]
   1. O Casamento
   2. Filipe e Egmont
   3. Fatio Prudentia Minor
   4. Unidos contra Espanha
       First Part of the work
       Second Part of the work

The musical director was wearing a crazy shirt with cube motives in black, white and grey, the children behind the band, both boys and girls, were wearing light blue jeans, white shirt, and red tie! All together, with the gold shining of the instruments, and the minimal black net curtain background of the auditorium, made a nice Sunday morning atmosphere  Light was entering from the big windows´surfaces.
And the music started!
        The first piece, small, spirituous and happy, said "Bom Dia" to the audience and raised the curiosity for the next ones. It was written from this American composer, for the "Symphonic Wind Ensemble" of the University of Western Illinois. The composer is also well known for his "Greensleeves" adaptation, i recalled later, a favorite old song connected with Christmas.
        And then Fernando Pessoa. What a honor. With children voices. I was struggling to get somehow the lyrics, as they were not (unusually) available, but i could not. There was a nice purpose behind the participation of the young choir: They should start getting to know the big poet. Very well functioning melodies, the one that are kept in mind long after the end of a concert, those serious poems were telling important stories, but through the children' voices with delightful touch.
       A Belgian composer with a Greek theme was coming next. Being a Greek, this was more like a surprise that Portugal had kept for me. This symphonic poem through its programmatic character, managed to shape the journey of the Greek mythology legend, and his fight with the life-threatening monster Minotaurus. Sharp dynamic changes, strong sound, gave the impression of an adventure, as it was. The composer, harmonized for this purpose, the most ancient surviving notated music of 138BC.
      After the end of Theseus' adventures in Crete, emotions of nostalgia (saudade for the Portuguese culture) fulfilled the space. With the orchestra colored even by small orchestrating details like "rhythm clapping", or a "glockenspiel", and the "solo of the guitar", also, anticipating the tutti arrangements, an intimate piece had started already with a march character due to brass family introduction. Egmont is a favorite work, like we know from Beethoven´s synonymous, a tragic history in four levels as the milestones of the work.

A small boy with his mother was sitting next to me. Also many other children around. And the chorus never escaped the scene. I was wondering if it was for educational purposes, as they only were singing one piece. Was this a good way to listen, also, without making any noise, in front of us? Maybe. But they were moving. And were making noises. As all the children of the world do, and as they should.
This was a nice experience. Like conquering one more music hall of this world. In one of the most magnetic mediterranean cities i have been so far!...

Just discovered a link for some architectural information .
You can also visit the official webpage.


  1. very interesting the coexistence at the second photo, inside the building: the old (on the left)and the new one!

  2. Exactly! Very fitting with the artistic purposes of this organization!