National Foundation for Popular Culture | 3/10/2018 | Tenet: Something out of this World

Tenet: something out of this world

published on March 10, 2018

By Jaime Torres Torres
For National Foundation for Popular Culture

The esoteric and sublime; the love that liberates and the love that condemns; the divine contemplation; the elevation of the soul and the emancipation of the spirit are synthesized in a perfect way in the music of the quintet from Tenet, the attraction of the Casals Festival on the night of last Thursday, March 8, International Women's Day.

The privileged voices of the sopranos Molly Quinn and Jolle Greenleaf addressed a repertoire that spans from the Middle Ages to the present day. (Photo Jaime Torres Torres for National Foundation for Popular Culture)

Art of the Middle Ages, dating back to the sixteenth century, in a very high concert and, for most of the program, caressing and tender baroque beauty.

The harpsichord (Jeffrey Grossman), the viola da gamba (Lisa Terry) and the theorbo (a large lute played by Hank Heijink) accompanied the lyrical singers Molly Quinn and Jolle Greenleaf during a non-intermediate program, focused on ancient music , in its natural, pure, pristine and virginal state.

These artists, of international fame, some Grammy winners and applauded at the Carnegie Hall and the most prestigious concert halls in the world, evoked the muse and wit of Italian composers of the XVI and XVII centuries, such as Johannes Kapsberger, Tarquinio Merula, Claudio Monteverdi, Martino Pesenti, Richardo Rogniono, Luigi Rossi, Michelangelo Rossi and others whose works Tenet interprets in the recording and recitals of "El amante secreto".

The texts, interpreted in Italian, were within the reach of average comprehension, thanks to the free translations into Spanish included in the excellent hand program of the Casals Festival 2018.

The show began with "The Three Graces" (The Three Graces and Venus), resulting in a very dramatic clamor for the sub work "Regresar, besos amados" by Monteverdi. The text in Spanish is:

"Come back, beloved kisses
to give me back
my kisses life that my hungry heart thanks. 
Sweet bitterness that makes me languish
kisses of nectar and poison. 
Appease my intense desire
kisses in whose sweetness I
also find sighs ".

With the exception of the madrigals or sacred works in which the combination of harpsichord, viola da gamba and tiorda almost propitiate touching the Divinity, the program stands out in the melancholy of the lover who goes out of his way for unrequited love.

Jeffrey Grossman in the harpsichord celebrated the brilliant presentation of the Tenet set at the Festival. (Photo Jaime Torres Torres for National Foundation for Popular Culture)

The musical experience, too, is extraordinary by transcriptions of virginal annotations, conceived outside the avatars of subjectivity.

In "Ardo, but I do not dare", "My thoughts struggle" "Heraclitus in love" and others it is a delight to listen to the duets, melodies and lines in counterpoints of the sopranos Quinn and Greenleaf.

I must confess that in little more than 30 years of coverage of artistic and musical events in the Puerto Rican Nation, I was never part of a musical proposal so genuine and rewarding.

Tenet is something out of this world.

Sounds of the Middle Ages perpetuated from the pentagram beyond the calendars, with all the luggage of spirits that vibrate in time and transcend spaces and geographies.

The indecipherable and inexperienced; the unknown and strange; Perhaps from an ancestral latitude it has echoed in some corner of the DNA, revealing vestiges of the memory and primordial passion that advances with the centuries. And it ends up feeling, understanding and enjoying because in its essence we also beat it.

Tenet said goodbye with the lyricism of "Danza de la Vida", which dates back to 1657, but whose author is anonymous.

"Life is a dream
that seems pleasant. 
But the pleasure is short: 
we all have to die.

They are not worth medicine, the machine does not help, 
there is no cure: we all have to die.

We die singing; we die playing the sistro
or the zampoña; we all have to die

We die dancing, drinking, eating. 
With this carrion, we all have to die. "

The viola da gamba in the hands of Lisa Terry and the theorbo performed by Hank Heijink completed the magic evening of the whole of the city in the Sala Pablo Casals. (Photo Jaime Torres Torres for National Foundation for Popular Culture)

A pity, however, that Tenet went unnoticed at the Casals Festival. Where is the audience that has traditionally supported this prestigious event?

The Pablo Casals Symphony Hall seemed a desert, but Tenet, in addition to its virtuosity and majesty, sang in Fine Arts with the same commitment of Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There is no doubt that he will be remembered for much among the best of the Casals Festival 2018. Hopefully it will be repeated. Meanwhile, it is possible to relive the dreamy experience of Thursday by listening to their albums "A Feast For The Senses" and, of course, "The Secret Lover".

Are you ready?

Beth Beauchamp

Having worked as a professional musician, a music-educator, and the Executive Director of a number of non-profit arts organizations, Beth has over 10 years of experience in catering to the unique needs of artists. Beth believes that the talent, education, and skill-sets of her clients have inherent worth. As a passionate artist advocate, she aims to help her artists improve the quality of their own lives by encouraging them to honor the value of their own work, and by creating materials which allow them to champion their art with confidence. Equally interested in building community, Beth aims to create a roster of artists who are excited to support and collaborate together.