Ensemble São Tomás de Aquino
Vocal Ensemble
Monastery of Santa Maria de Cós
August 9, 2020
The exultation of greatness

No one can prove or disbelieve it. There are many of them, scattered all over the world. Some worship gods, singular or plural, while others worship people or even symbols. But they all have one thing in common: the existence of something larger than us, fragile and ephemeral human beings.

This dilemma of the existence or absence of ubiquity or unlimited purposes, with more or less determinism, has not prevented the formation of legions of faithful and dedicated worshippers. Of these, some of the most imaginative and skilful built places of worship that represent, in themselves, that insignificance of Man in the face of divinity. Such is the case of the altar in the church of the Monastery of Santa Maria de Cós, as can be seen in the photograph immediately following this text.

The mastery in the texture of the gilded carving, the sculptures, the tiles on the walls and the iconic portraits on the ceiling. Almost everything about this monument takes us back to the existence of that greater and more powerful entity.

Over the years, this has been one of the most curious and popular venues of Cistermúsica. Where people of various nationalities (and, most likely, creeds) come to listen to sacred music. In fact, sacred music is also an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with what surrounds us, accept our fragility and adore the inexplicable infinite, with or without a professed faith, because it is not explained, it is felt. And photography has the capacity, like almost no other artistic expression, to capture and eternalise these feelings.

Watch a clip of the show

Ariana Russo and Margarida Simões, sopranos
Mariana Monteiro and Maria de Fátima Nunes, altos
João Pedro Afonso and Carlos Monteiro, tenors
Pedro Morgado and David Cunha, basses

João Andrade Nunes, direction

Works by Manuel Cardoso, Francisco Martins, Duarte Lobo, Esteban López-Morago and Manuel Rebelo

“We appreciate, once again, the invitation that was addressed to us and all the kindness and professionalism - common to all - that you have had towards us. There is no doubt about the reasons why this Festival has already been running for over two decades and for the reputation it has achieved in the national music scene..”

João Andrade Nunes
Musical Director of the Ensemble São Tomás de Aquino

“The Festival proved that, especially in uncertain times, it is with music that we can approach the divine and aspire to achieve something more than simple matter (...) the Festival audience was able to sense, in the elevation of each concert, the possibility of touching the transcendent. In this fateful 2020, like never before, music extends redemption to all of us.”

Susana Santos
Director of Communication – El Corte Inglés