Over the centuries, the Granary of the Alcobaça Monastery has had various uses. I don't know exactly which ones or when it was built. But it has always been reused for more than one occasion. And, currently, one of those occasions is to be used as a concert hall for the Cistermúsica - Alcobaça Music Festival concerts.
It's a wide, straight, white space with very high ceilings. By itself, it's quite impersonal and uncharacteristic. But as a performance hall it gains new shades, new colours and a very particular warmth. The warmth of the lights, the people and, above all, the music.
On this occasion the Soloists of the Symphonic Orchestra of Casa da Música came to the Granary of the Monastery of Alcobaça and it is difficult not to draw a parallel between the House (Casa) and the Granary. One with a specific purpose built and fulfilled since its genesis, the other has fulfilled several purposes for which it was built and now fulfills the same purpose as the House. Here, the modern and the ancient play in the present, with two violins, a viola, a cello and a clarinet. Five soloists that were more than the sum of their parts. Five instruments "taken" from a larger orchestra but which operate autonomously.
Five soloists from the Casa da Música Symphony Orchestra came together to perform one of Ludwig van Beethoven's string trios, the Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello in C minor Op.9 N.º3, a work of great scope and virtuosity, which combines simplicity with a musical depth only to be found in the great geniuses. The group also performed Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind by Osvaldo Noé Golijov, an Argentinian composer living in the United States of America, with strong ties to Israel, who composed this work inspired by the manuscripts of Isaac the Blind, a famous author of Kabbalah.
“I wish you every success for the 2020 festival as it is very much deserved.”
Spectator of the Cistermúsica Festival
“Both from an artistic point of view and from the energy of the audience and the hall, even in a circumstance where it's small capacity, it was an absolutely remarkable experience.
It was a wonderful sign that Cistermúsica happened.”
Maria João Cabral
Representative of La Caixa Foundation