login | register
EN  |  DE


Ouverture spirituelle • Eastern Christianity III: Venice and Byzantium 770–1797


Calling of the Bells – instrumental
Alleluia – Byzantine Chorale, John of Damascus (8th century) 
Fanfare – instrumental
Erotókritos – Byzantine composition, instrumental
Marcabru (1100-1150) • Pax! In nomine Domini! – Crusader’s Song 
Danse de l’âme – North African composition, Berber tradition, anonymous
Ton despóti – Planctus, Byzantine lament (13th century)
Song and Dance – Armenian composition, instrumental (13th century)
Billadi Askara Min adbi Llama – Mowacha, Arab-Andalusian song
Istampitta – Saltarello, anonymous (ca. 1300)
Efrixe i gi – Lamenting Prayer, John of Damascus (8th century)
Chiave, chiave – instrumental
Adoramus te – anonymous
Pásan tin elpída mu – Orthodox song
Nikriz Marsch – Ottoman composition, anonymous (15th century)
Guillaume Dufay • Lamentatio Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae
Clément Janequin • La Guerre (La Bataille de Marignan)
Salomone Rossi • Al naharot Bavel (By the Waters of Babylon), Psalm 137
Adrian Willaert • Vecchie letrose – Villanesca alla napolitana
Der makām-ı Uzzäl sakîl – Ottoman composition, anonymous, instrumental
Joan Brudieu • Oíd, oíd, los que en la Iglesia habéis nascido, Madrigal II
Géfsasthe ke ídete – Byzantine Hymn, Joannes Kladas
Claude Goudimel • Fight against my enemies, Psalm 35
Sousta – Cyprian dance, instrumental
Se imnúme – Russian-Orthodox Hymn, anonymous (16th century)
laïla Djân – Persian Dance, anonymous, instrumental
Claudio Monteverdi • Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda SV 153
Dimitri Cantemir • Ottoman March  
Antonio Vivaldi • „Di queste selve venite, o Numi“ aus La Senna festeggiante RV 693, „in honour of Louis XV“
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart • Alla Turca (Allegretto) from the Piano Sonata in A, K. 331
Anastaseos Imera – Russian-Orthodox Hymn, anonymous (16th century)
François Marchant • Nous sommes tous égaux, Chansons constitutionelle
Johann Adolf Hasse • Canzonette veneziane da battello
Per quel bel viso
Mia cara Anzoletta
Luigi Bordèse • La Sainte Ligue: La nuit est sombre based on Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 by Ludwig van Beethoven


End of concert approx. 11:20 pm.

Print programme (PDF)


Jordi Savall, Conductor
Panagiotis Neohoritis, Soloist and Chorus Master
Guest musicians from Turkey, Greece, Armenia and Morocco
Hespèrion XXI
La Capella Reial de Catalunya
Le Concert des Nations
Orthodox Vocal Ensemble (Saloniki, Greece)


1000 Years of Music – A Bridge between Orient and Europe

For roughly a millennium, from 770 to 1797, Venice played a dominant role in the Mediterranean and in world history. Venice was founded by the Byzantines, whose achievement it was to make the lagoon bordered by two rivers a mediator between Orient and Occident. This city of water with its intricate network of canals became a commercial hub for merchants from very different backgrounds, and thus, brisk trade developed between the Orient and Europe. By declaring itself a “republic” with a system of oligarchic government headed by the Doge elected for life, Venice managed to increase its independence from Constantinople, ultimately becoming a trading partner rather than a subaltern. After the city defied Charlemagne, it competed with Rome and rose to be the leading economic power in the Mediterranean region, blossoming in all areas of technology, science and culture. Thanks to trade and the resulting relations with the entire Mediterranean world, and due to the city’s willingness to welcome people of all backgrounds, it was influenced by the Christian Orient and the Orthodox world, but also by the Ottoman, Jewish, Armenian and Muslim cultures. Jordi Savall invokes all these influences through diverse Mediterranean sounds: sacred and secular music from the ancient Orthodox tradition of Byzantine Constantinople, the music of the Ottoman Empire, of Greece, Turkey and of course Italy stands alongside the great compositions which Constantinople and Venice gave to European music history. Willaert, Gabrieli, Monteverdi, Cavalli, Vivaldi and many other names made – and continue to make – the greatness of an extraordinary city in Europe resound, a city whose pre-eminence endured for so long. After Bonaparte’s intervention in 1797, the Republic of Venice fell and was subsequently ruled by Austria for more than 60 years, before Venice was finally integrated into Italy, still counting as one of that country’s jewels.

Motive Ouverture spirituelle, © Robert Mertens




Ex oriente lux: the sun rising in the East became a symbol for Christian faith – and remained a catchphrase even after the ‘East-West Schism’ had divided the disparate traditions of Christianity into a Western and an Eastern church. From the perspective of modern historians, this was not a singular event in 1054, but a process of estrangement stretching over decades, even centuries, due to increasing linguistic, cultural, political, economic and of course theological differences, culminating in the catastrophic sack of Christian Constantinople by an army of Venetian crusaders in 1204. It was no coincidence that the Eastern tradition chose to call itself ‘orthodox’ (literally, ‘right in religion’) – after all, it worshipped in Greek, the original language of the New Testament. Even the spoken word of God was music, and song its most intense augmentation: no instrument but the human voice was able to express the effect of the Holy Ghost adequately. This conviction, manifest in sumptuous choral works, was handed down to the various traditions rooted in the Eastern church, spreading geographically from Africa to Asia. Ensembles from Russia, Armenia, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt and Ethiopia will offer resounding examples of these different traditions.
Echoes of these can be detected in works like the large-scale Concerto for Choir by the native Russian Alfred Schnittke – in the anti-clerical Soviet Union in 1986, this was as much of a scandal as the religious fundaments of the music of Estonian Arvo Pärt, particularly revered in the West today. His musical self-discovery in the 1970s went hand in hand with his conversion to the Russian-Orthodox faith. In a sublimated form, the latter may have already been present in the Symphony of Psalms which Igor Stravinsky, himself Russian-Orthodox, expressly did not conceive as a symphony featuring sung psalms, but psalms in a symphonic setting.
The ‘Western’ programme of the Ouverture spirituelle mirrors the status of choral music in the Eastern church, especially in great oratorios written in the Catholic or Reformed traditions. Of course the tradition of beginning the series with Joseph Haydn’s Creationcontinues – conducted this year by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. It reaches its contemporary culmination with the world premiere of Peter Eötvös’s dramatic Halleluja – Oratorium balbulum; classical milestones include Mozart’s Mass in C minor at St. Peter and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. While the prophet in Eötvös’s work is afflicted with a stutter, the biblical Daniel in George Frederic Handel’s fascinating oratorio Belshazzar suffers no such impediment: summoned by the Babylonian king – truly a ‘monstrous human beast’, characterized by a pig’s grunt arising from the orchestra pit – Daniel interprets a mysterious writing on the wall (the well-known ‘menetekel’) to foretell his imminent end. The victorious Persian Cyrus liberates the Israelites from their Babylonian slavery: he too, appears as a light from the East.

Walter Weidringer

Tanslated by Alexa Nieschlag

as part of the Ouverture spirituelle

As in previous years, we are grateful that the Herbert Batliner European Institute will cooperate again with the Salzburg Festival, accompanying the Ouverture spirituelle with academic presentations and discussions. Complementing the concert programme focusing on Eastern Christianity, the Disputationes feature issues of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

The first event takes place on July 22, 2016.
Three rounds of public conversations follow as part of the Ouverture spirituelle.