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Report from the festival in Lloret de Mar

Report from the festival in Lloret de Mar
Report from the festival "Canco Mediterranea" and the choral contest after Pau Casals in Lloret de Mar in Spain. 13rd-18th September 2016.

This year at the festival there were 22 choirs from 10 countries (Poland, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Lithuania, Spain, Estonia and Hungary), together about 800 people.

Competition auditions

Auditions choir is a serious matter. On September 14th, 2016 in the morning, the jury composed of Elizabeth Wtorkowska (Poland), Natalia Komarova (Russia), Milan Pazurik (Slovakia), Tim Knight (United Kingdom), Jan Borowski (Poland) and Hordur Askelsson (Iceland) starter their work. Choirs could compete in 5 categories: sacred music, pop, folk, Catalan music and Pau Casals piece.

The first occurred Choir Albis from the Czech town of Decin - almost only girls. It sang nicely, especially pieces "Tonight I feel young," and "She's got a ticket to ride" by The Beatles. Next, Mixed Choir of Music School in Sochaczew under the direction of Iwona Niemyjska performed best Polish song "Salt of the earth" - here, finally the children began to provide listeners with emotion while singing. After them were gems - Girs' Cathedral Choir "Puellae Orantes" of Tarnów under the direction of priest Wladyslaw Pachota. Girls sang the whole show by heart, freely manipulating the dynamics from forte fortissimo to pianissimo and vice versa. Then, in Polish folk piece, arranged by Jacek Sykulski, who gave the opportunicty to sing solo to all voices – they sang with elements of dance. Next - fiery "Mazur", which echoed with the old Polish traditions, also sang with a small dance elements, that have already appeared in almost every song, effectively diversifying performance. In the song "Singing in the rain" from the film "Singin 'the girl once again proved that in order to bring a smile to the audience it is enough to use small movements: shrugs, movements of hands or a little kiss in the air at the end of the song. The whole made a very good impression and choir came out with tumultuous applause.

Next choir was the Mixed Choir "Concerto Glacensis" from Kłodzko (Poland) under the direction of Katarzyna Mąka – wonderful people of all ages, all with a great passion for singing (one of the singers came to the competition with a broken ankle in plaster foot and sang sitting on a wheelchair). It's one of those Polish choirs, who took matters into their own hands and founded the association, trying to finance on its own. Meanwhile, their performance was one of the best in terms of "climate": after a relatively unsuccessful early (some uncontrollable panic in the first song cast a shadow over the other), in the third, "Majesty", positive emotions erupted and granted the audience, catching impression at first . With a vengeance. Then regrouping and gymnastics (plus transport of ill-fated chorister trolley) and the category of "folk": the songs of Podhalańskie - brilliant. Immediately we were moved to the high mountains, listening to the choir of women singing from one mountain peak to men gathered at the top of the second peak, and the male choir who "sang them back". Another song in Russian - выхожу один я на дорогу - and rapid change in circumstances of nature to a large, wide, lazy river with fires burning on both sides. Then the Bulgarian "Svad'ba" sung - and how sung – with the Bulgarian white voice, with the complex rhythm pointed by feet. Then, with a change in the category for 'entertainment', to calm the atmosphere very familiar "Feelings" (accompanied by exotic instrumental duo from Ladek Zdroj: Bartek playing the congas and the Spaniard Moises on guitar, communicating with each other for fun ... in Silesian language ). "Feelings" took us on a romantic journey that ended in the next song ( "Hit the road, Jack") fierce quarrel lovers, made with a great temperament.

The last chorus before the break were 'Medici Pro Musica "from Olsztyn, under the direction of Małgorzata Wawruk - choir in which sing mostly doctors of medicine. Unfortunately, since the choirs at the beginning prolonged a little their concerts, it began at lunchtime and the choir had to sing to outgoing people, which, as you may have guessed, is not conducive to either concentration or mood.

After the break, the first team was the Female Choir "Viva" in Vilnius under the direction of Vilija Mazintaite - a small, 25-people, very well prepared team. Beautiful performance of all the tracks on a great technical level supported ideally equal choreography. One of the songs was choreographed version of "the deaf" - slow, smooth movements like tai-chi intensified sorrow wtitten in a sad folk song. In the next song sounded beautiful solos and chorus perfectly accompanied in the background. Then again, a change of mood and aggressively sung a song with a bang and the accompaniment of congas. In the category of entertainment in the song "Dancing Queen" of ABBA: almost without moving from the spot, girls formed figures, as they were copied from the choreographed concert of '70. The team breathed and moved like a many-headed dragon, ideally sensing a common rhythm and sound – a performance like this will be memorable for a long time.

After the girls from Lithuania to the scene came another of choirs operating in smaller cities: Wyrzysk Chamber Choir "Canto" under the direction of Piotr Jańczak, who is also a choir composer. This choir from a small town (in Wyrzysk the whole community in 2004 was just over 14,000 inhabitants), but has about 40 people - and sing great! That's not all - apart from the Chamber Choir "Canto" in Wyrzysk also operates a separate Wyrzysk Mens' Choir, conducted by the same conductor. Men also took part in the hearings, with very good results, as it turned out later. Anyway - it was nice to listen to such men sing.

Another participant in the hearings was a chorus of Gdansk „Music Everywhere”, consisting of young people who sing really great. The choir showed a very varied repertoire with a high degree of difficulty: to be true in the category of sacred music I fell into a light stupor, probably caused by an excess of happiness, so I did not record anything specific. This should, however, be considered a compliment to the choir, because time went „spoiled” or „hanged” for a time (very nice situation!) After coming back to ”our dimension” I heard very beautifully sung "O vos omnes" of Pau Casals, the Catalan composer whose name is called the festival in Lloret de Mar. In Polish folk song - great diction and rhythmic precision. And moving across the stage as proof that the choristers dont matter where they stand, because each of them control his (or her) vocal line and it does not matter what other voices sing to them to the ear. Making music in this manner is the greatest pleasure for singers – and I wish all choirs to reach this level of freedom in preforming. Next piece: a song from the solo tenor and accompanying accompaniment in a choir made me shiver (in Russian murashki, "мурашки" – remember this word, it may be useful to you). A dancing female choir in garlands on their heads seemed like it would drown in despair in a moment. Besides, it had the ostinato, diphthongs and other wonders (unfortunately I did not have a program and do not know how this music phenomenon is called). The next track, "Kiss from a Rose" with a very rich choreography, also touched something in the soul. The man quickly gets used to good, so the entertainment category was also the same pleasure as for singing and for listening;).

After the choir from Gdańsk, the stage went to choir from Józefów (again Wikipedia came with the help came to me: Józefów, Otwock County, approx. 18,000 inhabitants). The choir Schola Cantorum Maximilianum from Jozefow, starting in the category of youth choirs also performed at good level, located in the high standards imposed by all the choirs.

After them about 50 ladies from Iceland came to the scene - The Women's Choir of Reykjavik. The choir sang on very high level, presenting interesting solutions in vocal and choreography. In one of songs all the ladies at some point began to turn back to the audience and there was only the soloist singing straight to us against the dying sound. There was also a composition resembling audio recording of oceanographic research on a ship - you could have hear a dolphins-like communication, modulations and wheezing collected by the echo sounder. By the choir passed, like the flowing shoal, echo, reverb and gurgling - even it was seen that mormorando is produced with rounded moves of mouth... And then, of this bubbling, manifested in the solo treble, then he stopped bubbling, "falling deeper" and the song ended up in deep silence. On this piece the audience sat spellbound. Energy from over the choir spreaded on the audience.

Further teams were male choir seniors Choeur d'Hommes du Pays Vannetais of Vannes, France, led by Margaret Pleyber and occurring after the Choir of the University of Economics Ars Cantandi from Wroclaw. Then there was a male choir Coro il Polifonico di Ruda from Italy, headed by Ms Fabiana Noro. Good choir can be recognized how it sings piano. Polifonico il Coro di Ruda is a VERY good choir. Very beautiful differences and dynamic sound quality meant that they were listening pleasure. Besides, every woman loves to hear lullabies sang for her by 35 handsome men in uniforms of James Bond. "O vos omnes" Pau Casals was absolutely best among performances of all choirs. And so was with every song. Italian gentlemen sang as my grandmother used to sing me lullabies. Fabulous!

As if that were not enough, the next team that came on the scene was the Choir of the Maritime University of Szczecin, which initially got a big round of applause for the appearance only - men in officers' dark blue uniforms and captain's hats, and the accompanying beautiful girls in long dresses caused a great impression on the audience. They sang as beautifully as they looked - was great among interpretation of the song "Salve Regina", containing a fragment, which reminded me of a poignant scene from the film "Four tank men and a dog" as the Polish army came to the sea, which the banks went wailing woman in black and she called his son, who went missing in the war: "Marek, Mareczek!" The same wailing choir, walking across the stage just like this woman, calling „Mater! Mater!”. Further, in the same climate, the choir sang the well-known Scottish song Loch Lomond. Excellent performance and were also interpretations of works in the category of entertainment - one of the last works was in the style of Bollywood (of course, with choreography). Aaaah! Super, super! Choral marathon ended the day a team of Flora Choir of Tallinn (Estonia), and the hosts – local choir from Lloret de Mar.


Being dated beforehand with the Gdansk Choir „Music Everywhere” we went along with them from Lloret de Mar to Barcelona and spent great day in one of the most atmospheric cities in the world. The choir was greeted in the vicinity of the Olympic Museum by the lovable pair of its former choristers, who now live in Catalonia. Bus and walk trip tour was organized so to see as much as possible, but make it feel the atmosphere of the Park Guell, the Sagrada Familia, the Gothic and Jewish Quarters, Las Ramblas and other places. Mariusz Lewy has prepared a very interesting, not at all tiring route. He was telling with a gret knowledge about the history, monuments and customs of Catalans. It was suspiciously too well prepared for the possibility of "the ordinary man" - as it turned out, Mariusz has company and guides tours professionally in various languages ​​(including of course Polish, but also English, Spanish and Catalunyan).

About 20:00 Choir Music Everywhere, and Puellae Orantes from Tarnow, Choir Academy of Economics "Ars Cantandi" from Wroclaw and the Choir of the Maritime University of Szczecin had a concert in Barcelona Cathedral. The concert, for the audience from around the world, comprised mainly sacred repertoire, most of the songs were presented to auditions. Here choirs performed in less stress (without the presence of the jury), but in much more difficult acoustic conditions. For the audience the sound was nice and uniform, but the singers had to deal with a situation when you do not hear the harmony and one hears almost exclusively himself. Despite this, the audience enjoyed the concert - especially the ending, when all the choirs (in the strength of about 200 people) came on stage and sang together "Gaude Mater Polonia", a piec that all Polish chir know by heart. One of the viewers wih a look of Japanese guy - he wore a T-shirt with World Youth Day in Kraków - apparently fell in love with Poland, while in Krakow and now took the opportunity to listen to Polish music;)

And the winner is...

The award ceremony was held in the Lloret de Mar Theatre, as it was the largest hall in Lloret. Those who could not go inside, watched the gala on the big screen outside. Jury indicated that the level of this year's festival was very high. The Grand Prix of the festival went to Italy, to Coro il Polifonico di Ruda. They also won the award for the best performance of Pau Casals. Full results can be found at the Festival.

Organisation of the festival was on very high level – there were volunteers working with choirs, showing them places to see and helping with communication between choirs and organisers. Also accomodation conditions were nice, nobody could complain neither for rooms, nor for food. In in Lloret de Mar there is a beautiful sea, the sun, beach, wonderful views and after competition one can spend some time enjoying vacation. The next festival is next year - see you there, then!

On the photo: 4 Polish choirs sing Gaude Mater in the Cathedral of Barcelona.


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