THE URUEÑA'S QUARTET
After twenty five years of experience in Medieval Music, working with diverse musical forms within the world of Medieval Music, César Carazo and Luis Delgado funded the Urueña Quartet in 1998.
The intention is to bring about a creative yet rigorous work which honestly expresses the medieval music of the Iberian Peninsula influenced by the cultural and geographic proximity of Northern Africa and Medieval Occitan region.
The name of Urueña derives from the walled city of Valladolid where is housed the Museo de Instrumentos del Mundo (Museum of World Instruments). The exhibit is open to the public where one can view a part of the collection. The entire collection includes more than 1000 instruments of Luis Delgado from around the world.
The group presents different programs using the corresponding instruments of the time, paying special attention to the interpretation and the timbre.
Their intention is to recreate, using voice and instruments, the religious celebrations of Medieval Christian Courts, the troubadour recitals, the musical soirées held in Muslim palaces and the familiar and religious celebrations held in Sephardic society.
The transcriptions used comes from the work of musicologists specialized in this subject: Higinio Anglés, Arcadio Larrea Palacín, Ismael Fernández de la Cuesta, Luis Lozano Virumbrales, Julián Ribera Tarrago, etc.
Luckily we have an abundance of information on the majority of the instruments. Numerous engraved representations, frescos and porticos have supplied us with the main aspects of these instruments. In several scenes objects of exceptional character are represented, by example the Tromba Marina, a peculiar and obsolete instrument. It was used on many different social events but mainly in religious music. Jesus Reolid, a recognized figure in the manufacturing of the Tromba Marina, made one of the few existing in our country. It is also important to emphasize the Psalterio de Brazo, reconstructed from an existing representation found in the Portico de la Colegiata de Toro.
From the Arab tradition we found the Lute, the king of instruments, which enjoyed a great presence on the Iberian Peninsula and evolved from its predecessor, the Ziryab, through the hands of musicians. The Gayda also appears, a bagpipe of Bulgarian origin, with a peculiar and sweet sound and the Axabeba, a type of transverse flute appearing in the Cantigas de Alfonso X.
Others like the Pandero, have been firmly bound to the popular tradition of regions such as Galicia, Leon, Castilla La Mancha, Castilla Leon, Andalucia, etc., has also shared great importance and has evolved to an esteemed form in the last ten centuries.
In the Christian tradition, we are obliged to mention, amongst others, the Zanfona (hurdy-gurdy). Since it's first appearance on the Iberian Peninsula, depicted at El Portico de la Gloria de la Cateral de Santiago de Compostela. The Zanfona, well known in the European courts began to loose its popularity in the XVIII century, later become popular with paupers and street musicians. The model the group uses is a reproduction from Cantigas of Alfonso
X, The Wise.
It is also necessary to mention the Viola, which appears frequently in Christian and Muslim iconography. For the programs closely associated with the Renaissance the Vihuela is incorporated.
An instrument with a long Hispanic tradition, in the last decades has generally been acknowledged by interpreters of historical music.
Indeed we enjoy these unique instruments like a stroll through centennial melodies. Our senses are soaked in the sensations transmitted by this music that long ago resonated in the streets of our cities and towns, accompanying the commonplace and celebrations of our ancestors.
PROGRAM: The Music of the Order of Medieval Knights
The presence of the órdenes de Caballeria in the Middle Ages is of vital importance in the history of the Peninsula. Administrators, legislators, conquerors, soldiers and pilgrims with the knights actively participated in the foundation and modernization of many cities and regions.
In this concert, a series of works related to these orders have been reunited, beginning with the Psalm "Exultate Deo" intimately related to the Order of the Templars, Cantigas de Alfonso X, which tell of the miraculous events of the fighting monks, songs of the Poetic Crusaders, compositions of King Teobaldo, stories of the Knights of the Order of the Star, etc.
PROGRAM: THE SPIRITUAL LYRIC OF THE MEDIEVAL POETS
The concert is based on the spiritual lyrics of the Songs of the Troubadours. These are compared with the related themes in the repertoire of the Cantigas of King Alfonso, in the musical legacy of King Theobaldo I, and in the Andalusian Music that has survived by oral tradition in North Africa. These texts of enormous religious intensity bring us closer to the religious sentiments of the time. The repertoire deals with the religious sobriety of the time, only to be compared with the intense emotion which is reflected by the texts and the melodies.
Rimbaut de Vaqueiras, Alfonso X, Marcabrun, Lanfranc Cigala, Theobaldo I, etc.
PROGRAM: MUSIC OF THREE CULTURES
There is no historical doubt of the overlapping societies which developed in Medieval Spain between the Jews, Muslims and Christians. In many towns and cities, the call to prayer by the Muezzin from his turret was followed by the Christian church bells in the streets where the Sephardic Jews celebrated Purim.
Really we speak of a period in which our tradition leads and is shared by three religions, frequently referred to by historians and sociologists as an example of human coexistence.
In this repertoire these three musical styles are presented by sharing the same space, time and instruments.
Sephardic songs were collected from the Balkan and Northern African tradition, poetic troubadour songs directed at the Arab world, Moroccan Andalusi music, Cantigas de Alfonso X, the Wise, etc.
PROGRAM: RESONANCES OF SEFARAD
The decree, by the Catholic Kings, which was disseminated to numerous foreign courts in 1492, expelled the Jews from Spain taking with them only what they could carry without the burden of paying taxes: their cultural knowledge.
Nowadays, there are numerous communities in many places which continue to conserve this valuable treasure. In our case, we have paid attention to the musical aspects, reuniting the songs of Balkan Sephardic tradition, the Mediterranean river basin and the communities of Northern Africa.
PROGRAM: THE LYRICAL AND THE TRADITIONAL
During the IV Centennial of the works of Cervantes, the quartet prepared an interesting repertoire based on one the more important lyrical tradition of Hispanic Literature: the Romance. For this we counted on the consultation with Joaquin Diaz, who presented a program in a few lines: Cervantes lead the ninth chapter of Quixote with the phrase "media noche era por filo", because he himself felt that the reader or whomever was listening to the reader will unconsciously hum the marvelous melody of the romance of Conde Claros de Montalban. Just the way the melody transcribed by Professor Francisco de Salinas in his six part work "De musica libri septem", it is the quintessence of Renaissance music and the triumph of simplicity against the declared baroque style. With just three notes, that later will take charge of the inner harmonizing of each musical sense, the anonymous author of this melody hits the nail on the head of good taste, precision and aesthetic glory. Cervantes, mindful of the good relations with the reader, always worried about communicating in the lenguage used by all. Joaquín Díaz
In this concert we can hear, among others, the romances mentioned in the Cervantes«s text, at times the cultured versions, like the collections in the Cancionero de Palacio. At other times the popular traditional versions have been conserved to the present day. Nor are we missing the new romances written by Cervantes, which Joaquin Diaz has especially created music for this program.
PROGRAM: THREE CULTURES WATCHING THE HEAVENS
In this program the Quartet has reunited a series of pieces related to the medieval firmament. The questions that human beings have considered in view of the firmament are also seen reflected in the music. In the repertoire we found Judea Hispanic liturgy, poetry and Andalusian music and fragments of music related to the heavens in Christian codices of the time.
PROGRAM: THREE CULTURES ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
Taking, like a central axis, the path of its known codices, the Quarteto de Urueña has amplified its repertoire pausing on other branches on the Camino de Santiago, and including musical references to the two cultures that shared hegemony with the Christians in medieval Hispanic society.
PROGRAM: MEDIEVAL WOMAN IN MUSIC
One of the most unknown facets of the medieval world is its female composers. They arrived from various sources and different places and times. On one hand the "trobairizes" Occitan's left a lyrical legacy which would make any of its poetic contemporaries envious. Among them are Beatriz de Dia, Azalais de Porcaraigues, Castelloza, etc. On the other hand there are the Andalusian poetesses who appear in "diwanes" and compilations of the time: Umm al Wing Bint Yusuf al Berberiyya, Princess Waladda, etc. We can't forget the religious music with author of incommensurable stature such as Hildegard Von Bingen or the friar's manuscripts signed in a female hand, such as the Codex of las Huelgas.
This program premiered at the Auditorio del Museo de las Ciencias de Valladolid, during the closing of the exhibition of "The Ancestry of Isis" dedicated to the women in science and sponsored by UNESCO and the L'Oreal Foundation.
PROGRAM: THE MUSIC OF CHRISTMAS IN HISTORY AND TRADITION
The Christmas music repertoire is constantly being increase with new findings, conforming into a varied style and aesthetic kaleidoscope. In this program we found pieces from the Middle Ages, (Monastery of Obarenes, the Archives of the Cathedral of Toledo, etc.) fragments of the Traditional Romancero, pretending to be some of the allusive pieces of the Renaissance repertoire (Songbook of the Columbina etc.).The premiere of this program was produced in Madrid's National Museum of Anthropology during Christmas 2006.
PROGRAM: THE MUSIC OF HOLY WEEK IN HISTORY AND TRADITION
The celebration on Holy Week has the most extensive collections roots in the Mediterranean surroundings, but in Spain acquires a special relevance. Being one of the most celebrated traditions on the peninsular, the wealth of the artistic impact that has been generated is overwhelming, as much as in the plastic manifestations as in literary and musical comedies.
In this program we wanted to reunite the repertoire of medieval music with oral tradition. At first we will find from liturgical fragments of the archives of the Monastery of Huelgas, the Cantigas of Santa Maria, the Llivre Vermell de Montserrat, etc. and secondly we will hear impressive pieces from the oral tradition that almost approaches present time with Songs of Viacrucis, Lenten Petitions and Religious Romances.
PROGRAM: THE MUSIC IN THE COURT OF JAMES I
PROGRAM: THREE DANCES, THREE MUSICS, TRHEE CULTURES
To reconstruct medieval music and dances can be complex, because the existing registries with its written annotation, makes it difficult. However, basing us on the iconographic registries that remained in the Cantigas de Alfonso X, the folklore and the tradition, we presented an approach that could be this type of manifestations. Data like the similarity between the illustration of Cantiga number 62 and the ivory stature of the Bagello Museum in Florence, invite us to think of the common vestures and choreographies minimally established.
If we unite the dates that describe the dances of Muslim Spain, and some of the Sephardic traditions which are conserved in some dances, we can venture, paying special attention to the attire, to recreate the dance of Medieval Spain. The present program offers, in a coloristic scene and full of the instruments of the time, a reconstruction that could be the Jewish, Moorish and Christian dances between the XI and XV centuries.