El Rei En Jaume I – review

The Cantata “El Rei En Jaume I”, is a marvel. The text, by Guillem Frontera, demythologizes the 13th century conquest of Majorca; Parera Fons takes this and raises it to epic dimensions. Just listen to the Abû Yhayâ’s lament, King  James’ doubts, the battle, the weeping, the voices from the earth. This is an important work in which the composer shows his musical savoir-faire and inspiration. My hands hurt from clapping so much. And, the soloists were world class: Maia Planas, Mª Lluïsa Roca, José Antonio López (what a King!), Francisco Vas (absolutely spectacular!), Antoni Aragón (bravo, bravo, as always!)…all of them just great! Well, maybe not the Narrator. Sorry, but he didn’t rise to the occasion, neither the text he recited nor the work in general: there were no nuances in his reading, no feeling, and a slip-up here and there.// The hall-the Teatro Principal- was too small to do justice to so many emotions and it couldn’t absorb the sheer volume of music. The Children’s Choir (many of whom were no longer really children) were in-tune and behaved professionally; the adult choir was, well, correct, although from where we had to sing, the sound was weak, especially the men’s voices. The pianists, the percussion and the brass had leading roles to play in the orchestra; the score created a variety of moods and styles, with a few exotic touches, but the voice, the human voice was the real VIP of the night. Here we have a real cantata; A true lesson in musical composition, in musical organization with a rhythm that grips you and never lets you go for a minute. Let’s hope they’ll repeat this soon, so more people can enjoy a work “made in Majorca”, a work that can proudly represent us around the world.

15/09/2008 Bloc Irina Capriles