Throughout the Reformation Year 2017, this site offers trendsetters and thought leaders a place to present their notions of change and innovation. What are the potentials and needs for current and future-oriented “reformations”?
The Word, Perhaps
That every human being [...], inside as outside, is nothing but harmony.
(Comenius, Didactica magna)
Luther’s Reformation fostered a great flourishing of musical creativity in the German-speaking world. Thanks to the texts of Pietist writers and poets, composers such as Heinrich Schütz and Bach could create a kind of music that united the spiritual with the free and powerful expression of the Italian madrigal. An example of this is the cycle of “spiritual madrigals” by Johann Hermann Schein, which was collected under the title Israelis Brünnlein (Fountain of Israel). In my view, this is how music has always been advanced: inspired by the word. And theatre. From these beginnings, which were bound up with the art of madrigalism, it was only a small step to the then still infant opera. The advent of Viennese classicism some time later cannot be understood apart from the predominance of opera in the musical world. Nor can polyphony, which was the origin of the string quartet, of the core of every symphonic repertoire.
Even today it is the word that drives music forward. The renaissance of the opera genre is a prime example of this. My own music has developed because of the influence of word and work on the voice. All the larger projects that lie ahead of me move in this direction. It is the word and song as our instruments that chiefly lead us closer to a new and urgently needed humanism (while everything seems to be running in the opposite direction, towards dehumanization). The role of art, in my opinion, consists in this turn inward, to contemplation.
Joan Magrané Figuera, born in 1988, studied composition in Barcelona, Graz, and Paris. For the years 2017 and 2018, he is a member of l'Académie de France à Madrid-Casa Velázquez. His music is played by many renowned orchestras, ensembles, and solists alike. Recently he collaborated in two opera-projects, namely Dido Reloaded and disPLACE. He was awarded with many international prizes, such as the XXXI Premio Reina Sofía de Composición de la Fundación de Música Ferrer-Salat and, in 2016, the price of the Académie de France á Rome – Vila Medici.