CD - 2019

Esa flor lucida
Anònim (vers el 1720?)
Cuatro al Santíssimo Sacramento
Estribillo, recitado, aria, coplas, todos

Fuego, fuego marineros
Josep Gaz (Martorell 1656-Girona 1713)
Tono a cuatro voces al Ssmo. Sacramento
Estribillo, solo, coplas
Dice la fe 6:01’
Josep Gaz
Tono a cuatro vozes al Ssmo. Sacramento
Estribillo, coplas
Aliente el dolor 3:22’
Anònim (Josep Gaz? 1711?)
Solo al Smo Sacramento
Estribillo, coplas

Espíritus alados 11:39’
Manuel Gònima (Lleida 1710- Girona 1792)
Estribillo, coplas, recitado, aria
Vos amantes en verdad 7:51’
Manuel Gònima
Cuatro al Ssmo. Sacramento, con violón obligado
Estribillo, coplas tenor, coplas todos
Qué confusión Dios mío 12:07’
Manuel Gònima
Estribillo, recitado, aria, recitado, aria, todos
Pues quien no cabía 14:09’
Francesc Juncà (Sabadell 1742-Girona 1833)
Villancico a 4º al Smo. Sto.
Estribillo, dúo, recitado a dúo, dúo, aria a dúo, coplas, coro
10% of each piece

The Forty Hours of Music in XVII and XVIII century Girona

Eucharistic devotion as a separate cult from Mass appears relatively late, at the end of the XIII century. Among the different types of eucharisitic devotion the one of 40 hours has had a prominent place. It first appeared in Milano around 1537 as a prayer against the devastation caused by war and soon arrived to Rome where St. Philip Neri added a musical component. The Counter-reform of the XVII century spread it in order to fight against the protestant Reformations and with the aim of keeping alive a way of worshipping that was both cultured and popular at the same time. This new form of devotion proved convincing to rural and urban masses alike so that they would return to the Catholic church. It was presented as a great ceremony where special attention was paid to the rhetoric and the scenography. The Capuchins, the Jesuits, the barefoot Carmelites and other monastic orders devoted themselves to it and obtained great success. Each order applied its own theological slant and scenography where rich and poor, ignorant and learned classes mingled without problems and without hierarchical distinctions.
The general structure of this worship is based on the repetition 40 times in a row of a similar schedule: a sermon, a chant, and one or more prayers with several pauses between each. According to the place and the time a procession could be added. It usually took place in Holy Week but we can also find places where it was celebrated every month or on local feast days.
The number 40 comes from the calculations made by Saint Augustine of the length of time that Jesus's body remained in the sepulchre.

This form of worship appears to have arrived to Castille during the first half of the XVII century. It was Philip IV who encouraged it at the court in Madrid around 1650 at the time of the dynastic wars between the houses of Austria and Bourbon and at the centre of a serious political crisis. It was very important until the second Vatican Concilium when its popularity began to decline as Rome conceded more importance to the official cult - the Mass - than to particular forms of worship.
In 1586 it arrived to Girona thanks to the Augustine barefoot monk Miquel Ribera and was celebrated for many years in the cathedral cloister chapel. As from 1631 the municipality played an active role in the organization of the ceremony and from this year the municipal archives registered the names of those who signed up and the time of their participation. The reason for this unusual municipal implication could stem from a royal indication by Philip IV due to royal interest in the spreading of this form of worship. The municipality's protests to the bishop in 1770, because of an episcopal decision to suppress it, clearly demonstrate that it was considered as something belonging to them. Moreover, there was a department in the administration that was in charge of its management and has left us abundant documentation. The end of this form of worship came in 1970 shortly after the second Vatican Concilium and it is still remembered by older people as an important popular act. The municipality would reserve a time for the social groups who organised it - brotherhoods, associations, guilds, professional colleges etc and each group would choose a preacher whose prestige depended on their economic means. The times reserved for the bishop and the priests were often accompanied by a musical intervention for which the cathedral chapel musicians were responsible. Although we do not know if all of these interventions have been preserved in the chapel archive, some definitely have and it is on these that the present CD selection is based. None of the many eucharisitic scores preserved in the chapter house archives has the indication "For the 40 Hours", the use of Castilian Spanish, however, excludes their use in liturgical acts. The absence of violins also frequently indicates that this music was destined for Holy Week.
The selected works date from 1680 until 1780 approximately, since from this year the works dedicated to the Eucharist in the vernacular tongue have almost disappeared from the repertoire that remains. Between these two dates there were changes in the musical tastes and the cultural standards of Girona's inhabitants. Thus, in the XVII century the voices predominated whereas in the XVIII century the new musical instruments such as violins, oboes, horns, etc were gradually incorporated and became more prominent. It would appear that violins and other modern instruments were not accepted in the 40 hours celebrations perhaps because they were considered inappropriate for the solemnity of Holy Week. Similarly, there is a transition from the multiple rhythms of the baroque period to a more marked rhythmic simplicity yet with an increase in both instrumental and vocal richness to the liking of Girona people of that time. The organ, always present, was reserved for the continuum - the rhythmic and harmonic accompaniment- beside other instruments.
We have to accept that the texts were most probably written by those same chapel masters who signed them. However it is more complicated to determine their sources of inspiration since there were two important centres of religious teaching in the city - the Jesuits and the Dominicans, each with their own theological focus, and also the university. These texts are also inspired by the the ideas of the great mystical Castilian school from around 1600 spread by the barefoot Carmelites from their convent situated in Girona's Saint Joseph's Square. Their favourite theme was the personal relationship between the believer's soul and Jesus. The second theme is the contradiction between what the senses perceive and what faith lays down. This theme is typical of the scholasticism of the Dominicans and the Jesuits and began to be developed at the time of the arrival of the Illustration in Girona.

The couplets in works 2, 3 and 4 will not be sung in their entirety for lack of space.

1- That Magnificent Flower (Esa flor lucida). This is a short anonymous villancico from around 1720 in the form of a small cantata with a recitative and and an aria. Both the music and the lyrics remind us of Gaz's later works with its sudden contrasts and its cultivated vocabulary. The text makes a very baroque comparison between the Host, depicted as a magnificent, sweet smelling and, referring to the monstrance, colourful flower on the one hand with three more different flowers and a star on the other. Thus we have a marked contrast between certain beings that differ greatly. This contrast is then applied to the consecrated Host and also includes a number of opposites. The choir at the end clarifies the meaning of the text: our mouth cannot express so many contradictions at the same time as our senses and our intelligence. The music opposes the vocal complications of the initial and final parts in which the tutti imitate the soloist's voice while the three central parts, solos, are of a refined,melodic line.

2- Fire Fire, Sailors (Fuego fuego marineros). This is a short villancico in the classic style characteristic of Gaz's first phase. The text is very descriptive showing both a variety of literary and musical resources. The original is at present in the central library of Catalonia (Biblioteca de Catalunya) and most probably belongs to a set of musical scores from Girona cathedral that were secretly sold by the chapel master, Carreras Dagas, at the end of the 19th century. Despite the music's lively rhythm, the text has a penitential content, which is probably inspired by the Jesuit tradition that gave a penitential slant to the 40 Hours. Sea water, according to tradition, cannot put a ship's candles out because it makes them burn more fiercely. It is thus compared to the sorry penitent's tears whose sorrowful tears cause God's love to grow. The rest of the imagery is equally captivating and brimming with daring puns and wordplay that make the text difficult to understand. One example, impossible to convey in translation, is the play on ... throw them in the sea (... arrójenlas a la mar) and from love the waters (que del amar las aguas...). By using musical imitation as a resource, the choir voices follow the various soloists in a very well planned movement.

3-According to Faith (Dice la fe). This is a short villancico of classic structure, without arias or recitatives. The text is rich in Gaz's characteristic baroque contrasts, used in a very descriptive way with figures taken from nature that are easy for the listener to understand. Although there are a few allusions to Castilian mysticism, the descriptions of nature would suggest the Jesuit school of thought with the contrast between what the eyes see and what faith contemplates. The imitative baroque musical style, used so often by Gaz, plays an important role here.

4- May Pain Inspire (Aliente el dolor). This work may belong to the year 1711 the year that the French conquered Girona, plundering it to the point that the cathedral was so devoid of resources that there was not even money for a carriage to receive the bishop in Bascara. He was a Bourbon supporter during the war of succession and had been living in Perpignan under Louis XIV's protection after fleeing from Girona, where the house of Austria was favoured. These circumstances could explain both the form of the vocal solo and the minimal accompaniment with a strong penitential component in the contents of the text, suitable for the atmosphere of a conquered city. Repentance is able to morally regenerate people, whereby the defeat of Girona by the French could perhaps have a moral cause and repentance could be a way to recover freedom. As regards the music, the style shows the transition from the Iberian to Neapolitan style there being a very simple and short musical motif that is repeated in several different ways.

5- Winged Spirits (Espíritus alados). This is a work that enjoyed huge success and was used for many years as indicated by the choirboys' scribbled notes on the backs of their music sheets. Gònima brings together here different elements characteristic of baroque music -the fugue and the imitative elements- with an abstract text, more typical of the scholastic tradition and very different from Castilian mysticism. The text presents the angels singing before God and describes His greatness, theological themes that are not common in the works of his former phase. The presence of an aria and a recitative show that it is a transitional work. The chorus begins as a solo wiith the choir reinforcing its affirmations shortly afterwards. There is a noteworthy rhythmic contrast between the couplets and the chorus.

6- You lovers (Vos amantes).This is a penitential composition from the time of the arrival of new Neapolitan influences and clearly influenced by Castilian carmelite mysticism, where the relationship between a believer and the Host is described using the classic, refined vocabulary of love mentioning Cupid's arrow and the perfume of a rose, for example. The image of Christ as a skilled hunter is also of carmelite origin. By contrast, the use of abstractions such as deity or bread of charity are unknown in the baroque period. The alternance of couplets a solo and a tutti is a noteworthy innovation yet the resort to fugato techniques is the usual baroque ending.

7- Such confusion (Qué confusión). This work is a clear indication of the problems that occurred in Girona with the arrival of the ideas of the Illustration: there is a strong resurgence of the contradiction between the senses and the consecrated Host. This contradiction can only be resolved with the acceptance of a simple faith that accepts the mystery. The aim of the Eucharist is not a scientific explanation of the world but the salvation of mankind through the mysteries of love. The musical structure corresponds to Gònima's mature time of life around 1760.

8- He who found no place (Pues quien no cabía).This is the latest work in the programme of this concert. The instrumental introduction would appear to call for a separate musical sheet for the cello that must have been lost. The contradiction between the small size of the Host and God's greatness is its subject matter. This theme is common at the time of the Illustration and rationalism, but Juncà does not forget the themes of Castilian mysticism and personalises them as well. The fugue is not used here and is replaced by duos, more to the liking of the bourgeoisie that was beginning to predominate in Girona at that time.

CD technical information
Les 40 hores de Girona. Música eucarística dels segles XVII i XVIII

Laia Frigolé soprano I
Lorena Garcia soprano II
Hugo Bolívar contralt
David Hernández tenor
Daniel Regincós violoncel barroc
Albert Bosch llaüt barroc
Josep Vila Casañas Direcció i orgue positiu

Web site: Jesús del Oso