Anima Mundi
Anima Mundi
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From September, 12th to September, 27th, the 14th edition ofAnima Mundi will take place. This International Sacred Music Festival is organised by the Pisan Committee for the Preservation of the Cathedral Works and entrusted to Sir John Eliot Gardiner,acting as its artistic director.

Such an ambitious and imposing program – including seven concerts, five of which will be hosted in the town Cathedral and two in the Monumental Graveyard – is meant to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the the laying of Pisa Cathedral’s first stone.
The opening concert, taking place on September, the 12th, will be, as usual, hosted in the Cathedral; the stage will be held by Slovakian Juraj Valčuha, who, at a still young age, has gained so brilliant a reputation as to become the principal conductor of the Italian State Television’s Orchestra (Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai), whose musicians are supported by one more of the most reputed Italian ensembles: the Florentine May Festival Chorus. Johannes Brahms’ German Requiem for four solo voices, chorus and orchestra is on schedule.

On September, 14th, at the Graveyard, listeners could enjoy a Journey through the Eighteenth Century, offered by Christophe Rousset’s well-known Talens Lyriques, who are hosted for the first time in the context of Anima Mundi. The concert’s title, Juditha triumphans, alludes to an eccentric and captivating melodic assembly which, conceived as a wide-ranging pilgrimage in space and time through several musical renditions of the biblical myth of Judith and Holofernes, leads us from Venice to Naples and from Rome to Vienna – i.e. from 1716, under the aegis of Vivaldi, to Domenico Cimarosa and his Betulia (1782) – while giving some samples of the more than 30 composers who coped with this text.

At the Gaveyard, the traditional encounter with instrumental music displays this year, on September, 18th, the accomplished talents of cellist Silvia Chiesa and pianist Maurizio Baglini, who will be joined together in facing two Romantic masterpieces such as Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s Sonata No. 2 and Edvard Grieg’s Sonata Op. 36; as soloists, their tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach will respectively include the Cello Suite No. 3 and three magnificent piano divagations by Ferruccio Busoni: Ciaccona celeberrima and two Chorale Preludes (Preludi su corali).

On September, 20th, Anima Mundi will have as its main guests sir John Eliot Gardiner with his glorious English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir. The Virgin Mary, dedicatee of Pisa Cathedral – where the concert will take place – is celebrated in Domenico Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater.By the time this wonderful composition was devised, the incredibly genial musician was still in his young years. This opening performance will be followed by works by two of Scarlatti’s most eminent contemporaries, the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach being represented by one of his earliest cantatas – even it inspired by the Passion of Christ –, that of Georg Friedrich Händel – who was then twenty two and discovering Italy – by his psalm Dixit Dominus.

On September 23th, still at the Cathedral, Antonio Greco and Costanzo Porta Choir will lead us through apolyphonic ride embracing four centuries.A common title, Te Deum laudamus, links together the winning piece of this years’ edition of the Anima Mundi Composition Contest – a melody composed by Paolo Pandolfo – with different musical and religious cultures. Starting from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries – i.e. from masters of Anglican faith like Thomas Tomkins, Orlando Gibbons and Henry Purcell –the journey leads usthrough the Romantic era, withrepresentatives such as Mendelssohn and Gabriel Fauré (the latter being then only nineteen years old), to the twentieth century and Maurice Duruflé, to end with two English composers of our day: Howard Skempton and sir John Tavener. The contemporary Te Deum laudamus – specially written to be performed at Pisa Cathedral – closes the event.

On September, 25th, the Cathedral will host a concert performed by “Musicacosì”, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra and Choir: Director Josef Wallnig will lead the magnificent and unfinished Missa in C minor K 427, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a sign of devotion for his wife Constanze to be healed.

A symmetrical and complementary role to the opening one is played in more than a sense by the closing concert, which will be held at the Cathedral on September, 27th. The performance – which is expressly dedicated to both the foundation anniversary and the painting known as Virgin Mary below the Organs (Madonna di sotto gli organi), a thirteen century masterpiece celebrated as one of the most valued treasures preserved at the church of Santa Maria Assunta – will culminate in another Stabat Mater: the one which was accomplished by Antonín Dvořák in 1877. The score – which took shape in the composer’s mind as a consequence of the premature deaths of nothing less than three small children he had – develops the theme of Mary’s grief in a way that appears more lyric than dramatic, giving life to one of the most unique and touching examples of Romantic spirituality.The same international vocation is reflected in the interpreters’ background: Hartmut Haenchen, a highly esteemed German conductor, brings out the best in the Haydn Orchestra – an Italian ensemble which, being based in Bolzano and Trento, has a “boundary line” touch to it –, presenting us with their talent side by side with a Slovenian choir and several soloists of different origins; the whole confirms the picture of a world-wide breadth, which can be traced in the very name of the festival: Anima Mundi.

Information on the entrance conditions
Even this year, listeners could enjoy for free the concerts performed at the Anima Mundi Sacred Music Festival.With the purpose of ensuring a proper turnout in compliance with the safety requirements applied to the relevant monuments (Cathedral and Graveyard), the arrangement will respect the frame set forth in the context of the past editions: there will be both numbered and unnumbered seats, but only those provided with a regular entrance voucher will be allowed to enter.
Vouchers to gain access to anyone of the concerts can be booked only online on, from September, 8th, until the available seats are filled. Before logging-in to the online ticket office, anyone interested is required to subscribe; the maximum number of reservations that a single user is allowed to make is two.Vouchers could be converted into regular entrance tickets only on the date of the selected concert, from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m., and only at the Administrative Office supervising Anima Mundi. From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., uncollected tickets will be re-assigned to other listeners interested in the evening concert.
No phone or e-mail booking service is available.
The Administrative Office acting as supervisor of the concert organisation will be open from September, 8th, to September, 27th (with the only closing day being Sunday, September, 21st) and will observe the following ongoing timetable: every day, from 9:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. – on the concert days, from 9:00 a.m. to 9 p.m.
On the basis of possible organisational needs possibly occurring along the way, the administrative office thinks it is entitled to make changes aimed atensuring that every interested individual receives an equal treatment in compliance with the applicable safety standards. Such changes will be notified through the press and on the website owned by the Pisan Committee for the Preservation of the Cathedral Works, on the page “Musical Festivals”