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Music of Dalmatian traditional and medieval cantors

Tondal's Vision, the story of an unconscious man whose soul quits his body, was one of the most popular visionary stories of the 12th century, like a premeditation for Dante'sDivina Commedia. In this mysterious text, the soul – visiting hell guided by the voice of an unknown angel – gets lost on narrow paths and crosses bridges in darkness before returning to its body. This sojourn on the other side of death, which seems endless to Tondal, lasts clinically only the time of the winking of an eye, and it faces us with the strange question that Tondal constantly repeats to the angel: 'For how long a time was I dead?'. The Croatian collection Vartal, written in the 16th century for a female Benedictine community on the Dalmatian coast, is a very faithful translation of this vision.

We hear very dissonant Glagolitic polyphony in the context of much softer repertoires from the south of Dalmatia, Gregorian melodies and latin polyphony coming from the localities where Tondal's Vision was translated and performed.

A staging by Sanda Hržić, in collaboration with Yoshi Oida (one of Peter Brook's principal actors), puts the Vision in a new context where faces and music contribute to create very pure and expressive images.

This programme was first performed at the Utrecht festival in 2002 and was recorded for the label Arcana. It received the prestigious award Diapason d'or de l'année 2004. The inherently 'multi-lingual' character of medieval Croatian music and language allows us to wonder about the conventional distinctions that arbitrarily separate medieval, traditional and contemporary music.

CHOC Monde de la Musique award Coup de Coeur Charles CROS award Diapason Or award 5 Goldberg award JOKER CRESCENDO (plus récent) award