Spain. After presenting in this web page the news of the concert that was offered in Bilbao last November 7, we now inform you on the two concerts that, on the same occasion, took place in the cities of San Sebastián and Vitoria-Gasteiz, on November 8 and 15 respectively. With this we close the cycle of three concerts programmed to close in Euskal Herria the Bicentenary of the birth of Saint Anthony Mary Claret.
In San Sebastián the 30 choir members of the Music Choir and the 40 musicians of the Orchestra of the Bilbao Cathedral, conducted by Oscar González Gasquet, performed the seven pieces of the program, all of them composed by the famous Claretian brothers Luis and Juan Iruarrizaga. We had the opportunity to listen to those magnificent compositions orchestrated by the masters Ruperto Iruarrizaga, Juan Alfonso García and Aitor Kamiruaga. On this occasion the text of the presentations, which contained a brief synthesis of the life of Fr. Claret and a musical commentary, was given by one of the usual monitors of the Parish and by the Pastor, Jesús Mª Ibáñez. We also had the collaboration of Fr. Rafael Gómez who, closely following the interpretation, was presenting the slides with the texts of the score (with their respective translations) and chosen prayers of our Founder. Like in the concert celebrated the previous day in the Begoña Basilica (Vizcaya), the program was this:
1. Trilogy over a Basque melody
2. Trilogy nº 2 to the Blessed Sacrament
• Caro mea
• O Sacramentum
• Laudes et gratiae
3. Assumpta est Maria
4. Missa Credo in unum Deum
• Agnus Dei
5. ¡Quédate, buen Jesús!
6. Trilogy to the Child Jesus
• ¡No llores!…
• Tiene sueño
• En gozo sin igual
7. Servant of Christ
The solos of the works were sung by María González, soprano, and Aitor Kamiruaga, bass. Both demonstrated their mastery of the technique, interpreting their brief parts with good taste.
For the concert of November 15, in Vitoria-Gasteiz we chose the Santa Cruz College of the Dominican Sisters, because it was a place where Fr. Claret preached when he accompanied Queen Isabel II in her visit to the capital of Alava.
We know of Claret’s visit and of the words he addressed to the Dominican Sisters by a letter that one of the Sisters wrote to the Superior and Community of the Dominican Sisters of Lerma: “At about 4:30 of September 11, Fr. Claret came to the grille of the sacristy. After a brief greeting, he told them: ‘It was divine Providence that brought me to this convent, but I usually say some words to the Sisters wherever I go.” The Dominican Sisters were thrilled at listening to Fr. Claret. He knelt down, made the sign of the cross, invoked the Holy Spirit, prayed three Hail Marys and began the sermon which lasted more than one hour, as the Sister tells in her letter.
In the concert we had a guest of honour, the Bishop of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Monsignor Miguel Asurmendy who, as a musician, attentively followed the interpretation of all the scores and, as he commented later on, he remembered his formation time when the works of Luis Iruarrizaga used to be sung.
The public that gathered applauded with enthusiasm all the interpretations, and the Dominican Sisters who listened to the interpretation from the higher choir, followed the entire concert with delight. They had already commented to us that they were enchanted to be able to receive this musical gift, which they had never known in their Community. During the entire year they had insisted with Fr. Provincial, Joseba Kamiruaga, to do all he could to have some of the bicentennial activities in the Convent and finally their dream became a reality. The applauses were so many that, besides the extra number prepared, we had to repeat the best known work of Fr. Luis Iruarrizaga, “Quédate, buen Jesús!” The public was still standing, enthusiastically applauding, but the musicians were already exhausted after one and a half hour of concert.
After the concert, we had the opportunity to share with the Sisters a fraternal agape which they wanted to offer us. There we could share, besides the exquisite food, their kindly conversation and their joyful smile. The feast lasted more than usual for their community life and some instrumentalists from the orchestra wanted to thank the Sisters for their kind reception by giving them the interpretation of some popular scores.
Finally we want to thank all those who have collaborated to the realization of this cycle of concerts-homage to Saint Anthony Mary Claret: to the Claretian communities, for their support and participation; to the Community of Dominican Sisters of Vitoria, for their reception; to the Music Choir and the Orchestra of the Bilbao Cathedral, for their rehearsals and good work; to the conductor Óscar González Gasquet, for all the effort he has invested in the study and preparation of the works. A special recognition goes to Fr. Aitor Kamiruaga, who has prepared all the orchestral material, has elaborated the presentation texts and the images for the projection, has organized and coordinated the concerts, and has even orchestrated some of the scores that were interpreted.