Sunday, December 4, 2022
December 4, 2022

East meets West in Harant odyssey 


The life journey of the Czech nobleman, traveller, humanist, soldier, writer and composer Kryštof Harant from Polžice and Bezdružice ended prematurely in the Old Town Square in Prague June 21, 1621, when he was executed for participating in the Protestant Bohemian Revolt.

As an unfortunate consequence, Harant’s artistic legacy was largely lost or rendered incomplete. Today, two internationally renowned ensembles, Constantinople and Cappella Mariana, collaborate to present his surviving compositions and introduce audiences to his literary tradition: his record of a unique trip to the Middle East which he chronicled in his book Journey from Bohemia to the Holy Land, by way of Venice and the Sea published in 1608. 

Harant’s colourful, atmospheric work, narrated by Bill Richardson, will lead listeners on a musical journey to the exotic lands of Cyprus, Jerusalem, Sinai, and Cairo, immersing people in the music of those cultures as he himself had heard it.

“The Odyssey is like a beacon which will act as a guide for both ensembles — a geographical, historical, cultural, and inner voyage of discovery to distant horizons,” says Vojtěch Semerád, director of Cappella Mariana.

Inspired by the ancient city illuminating the East and West, Constantinople was founded in 2001 in Montreal by its artistic director Kiya Tabassian. Over the course of the decade, Constantinople has created nearly 50 works and travelled to more than 263 cities in 55 countries. 

Cappella Mariana was founded in 2008, receiving acclaim from the public and critics alike, as one of the few vocal ensembles focussing on the interpretation of high vocal polyphony, especially from Italian, Flemish and English Renaissance sources. 

Salt Springers will of course recognize Bill Richardson as long-time CBC radio broadcaster, author of the beloved Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast, and regular fundraiser on Knowledge Network.

Tickets are now on sale at ArtSpring for the Wednesday, Nov. 30 performance at 7:30 p.m., in which the evocative “intertwining of the Occident and the Orient” will conjure up an unforgettable cross-cultural tale from the recovered pages of history.


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