October 2019

“Culture and music: the best opportunity to meet”. The Terra Sancta Organ Festival in Jerusalem

The hands of Erzsébet Windhager-Gered, a Romanian musician, move swiftly on the keys of the imposing organ of the Church of St. Savior in Jerusalem and the large audience is listening to the powerful melodies resound in the nave. With the notes of Bach, the first of the three Jerusalem events of the sixth edition of the Terra Sancta Organ Festival opens, organized by the Custody of the Holy Land with the support of the Association pro Terra Sancta. During the music festival which sees the organ as the undisputed protagonist, numerous leading artists from all over the world, from Italy to Germany, from Romania to the United States, perform in concerts with varied repertoire in different churches of the Holy Land.

“The organ – commented friar Riccardo Ceriani, head of the Terra Sancta Organ Festival – is not in itself a typically Christian instrument, but here in the Middle East it is perceived as such. The aim of the festival is to bring together all the organ music lovers and allow them to listen to a classical repertoire not necessarily linked to the liturgy “.

Evgeny, a Russian Jew from Jerusalem, confirms this: “The organ is part of my western tradition, I grew up with its sound in Russia, and so it is very familiar to me. I am therefore happy to be able to listen to him during this important cultural event for my city. I have been following him for several years and with me many other Israeli enthusiasts too, proving that culture and music are the best opportunity to meet ”. A vision also shared by Associazione pro Terra Sancta that believes and supports the project due to its universality.

This year’s program presents a truly rich offer, the result of a complex work by Grazia and Pier Paolo, members of the Romano Gelmini Association, who have been assisting Fra Riccardo and the artistic director Eugenio Maria Fagiani all over the years. organization. “Behind every concert there is a constant commitment that lasts all year, but the final result is always satisfying and I am happy to make my contribution”, says Grazia.

To remember the meeting between San Francesco and the Sultan that took place 800 years ago, some evenings of the concert season 2019/2020 propose an original program, with the organist playing with musical improvisations while the projected images of the silent film “Frate Sole” are running of 1918.

It is a cultural operation linked to the recovery of a mode of expression at the beginning of the century of cinematography. In fact, some scholars maintain that in the United States the first silent films could be accompanied, not only by the piano, but also by the organ. For the first time this experiment is being implemented also in the Middle East, or rather in all the churches of the countries of the Holy Land involved in the project. From September to May, from Amman to Rhodes, from Syria to Lebanon, from Bethlehem to Nicosia, there will be numerous concerts that the faithful and enthusiasts will be able to hear from the churches in their city.

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