Under the motto MOTHER OF GOD, the 31st edition of Banchetto Musicale will explore the mystical universe of creation and spirituality honouring Mother Mary. In every corner of Catholic Europe, the Marian cult has defined not only sacred music practice, but also everyday life – affecting cleric, nobleman, farmer and soldier alike. With the power invested by believers in their sacred Virgin Mary, from her position as ‘Mother of God’, she guards not only the well-being and safety of humble human destinies, but also protects cities, churches, and even determines the outcome of wars.
Out of the popular tradition of musical prayers to the Holy Mother come fascinating transformations of secular love songs into sacred hymns, and vice-versa.
Before the official festival opening, we are thrilled to finally present ‘Actus tragicus’ – sacred works by J.S. Bach and G. Ph. Telemann, a performance which had to be postponed in 2020, due to travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.
With ‘Filia Sion’, Ensemble Vox Clamantis will open the 31st edition of our festival with a programme of Marian music by Perotin and Guillaume de Machault. On the opposite side of the pallet, a violin sonata evening with H. I. Biber’s Rosary Sonatas will be offered by Italian violinist Stefano Rossi. In the two performances of Mediaeval music which our festival will present this year, we will hear works from the universe of the famous Cantigas de Santa Maria, in the interpretation of Carla Babelegoto and Peppe Frana, as well as a various programme of Marian repertoire from all around Europe, by Mediaeval music pioneers Sabine Lutzenberger and Norbert Rodenkirchen. With ‘Hodie beata virgo Maria’, world-acclaimed Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam will present sacred works by Carlo Gesualdo and J.P. Sweelinck, a concert which will also honor the 400 years anniversary since Sweelinck’s passing. ‘Oratio Dominica: The Roots of the Evangelical Hymnody’ is a programme involving the entire musical creation of Cyprian Bazylik which is known to this day, in a unique bilingual interpretation by ensembles Jerycho, GŠ Ansamblis, and Morgaine.
Music education and supporting young promising artists is, as always, a priority for our festival. Young Lithuanian ensemble GŠ Ansamblis will present with ‘Clavis coeli’ liturgical music performed in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. ‘Hymn to the Virgin Mary’, an educational event for children and families, will be presented by Ensemble In Campo Aperto. Banchetto Musicale has chosen for the Fringe Day two performances, which will be the only online events this year. The young artists featured by the Fringe Day are: Lúthien Consort (Poland) and by Melinda Móriczi (Romania). A singing workshop ‘Bringing early music to life’ will also take place during our festival, under the direction of Bartosz Izbicki (Poland). The workshop will be crowned by a final concert ‘Bogurodzica’ (Mother of God) – Marian devotion in 17th-century Vilnius, illuminated through sacred chants and the living tradition which will also be the closing event of our festival this year.
The festival’s events will take place in Vilnius on September 7–26, 2021, at the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Franciscan Abbey, the St. Francis of Assisi (Bernardine) Church, and at the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Consolation.