27th August – 5th September.

MUSIC SPEAKS… LET’S TALK!  Rhetoric in the arts.

It is well known that Renaissance and Baroque music harks back to the rhetoric of classical antiquity. This bond is the central starting point for the post-war Early Music movement. The eighteenth-century composer, flautist and theorist Johann Joachim Quantz sums it up succinctly:   

The orator and the musician have, at bottom, the same aim […], namely to make themselves masters of the hearts of their listeners, to arouse or still their passions, and to transport them now to this sentiment, now to that. 

This festival is dedicated to rhetorical gestures of any kind: vocal, instrumental, physical, musical, spoken and sung. The notes are not meant for enjoyment but for their emotional impact. And perhaps only one question is of decisive importance: is the musical speech we hear convincing or not? 

Music and word | a golden combination

This festival edition focuses on a repertoire in which music and word enter into new relationships. Just think of key moments such as the proto-opera in Florence, the oratorio with Carissimi, the masque in London and the melodrama in German-speaking regions. 

We also sketch a unique history of song, the most obvious combination of music and text. The enormous developments within this musical genre become visible when we juxtapose compositions by the poet-composer Machaut with lute songs and airs de cour from the Renaissance and Baroque. With a recital by world star Dietrich Henschel, we extend the line as far as the Romantic Lied. 

There are also older forms of music which are all about declamation and the conveying of meaning. In order not to get in the way of the text, the notes are often relatively simple. However, in the performance there is room for exuberant ornamentation. Gregorian chant functions in this way, but so do the traditions from the East. The latter will have their turn during a spectacular closing concert in which we reproduce the acoustics of the Hagia Sofia in the Great Hall of TivoliVredenburg.