Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

Xavier Smith.

Madrid, September 23 (EFE).- Juan Sebastian Elcano arrived in Spain on September 6, 1522 at the head of 17 men and a ship barely afloat to become the first sailor to complete the circumnavigation of the globe, but his feat remains “silent” and poorly understood. providing, “a historical injustice” that attempts to repair music 500 years later.

It is an engine of “Cantata Juan Sebastián Elcano”, composed by Gabriel Loidi and with libretto and narration by Martin Llad, which will stop next Thursday in a special concert at the National Auditorium with the participation of the titular orchestra and choir. Teatro Real under the direction of Miguel Perez-Sierra.

Its celebration is part of the fifth centenary of the first circumnavigation of the globe in history, which began in 1519 with an expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan with five ships and more than 200 men to find a route. Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

After a thousand vicissitudes, including the death of the captain, the few survivors put Elcano in charge of the return trip, and he decided to sail west around the Indian Ocean and Africa in a boat that had to be bailed out. Constantly so as not to sink.

“Hardly anyone outside of Spain remembers it. I am surprised that so much has been said about Magellan, who did not go around the world, nor did he have the will or the intention,” protested Lade in the Ifeke statement when asked about the origin of this fragment. “If Elcano had not returned to Sanlucar, no one would have known Magellan. “, adds Lloyd.

Both writers, who had already collaborated in the past on a cantata about Basque whaling, agreed during a casual stroll that this was the greatest maritime work ever undertaken by one of their countrymen, but that his voice “was still silent 500 years later”, as historical accounts such as Pigafetta, One of the surviving explorers and one friend of the Portuguese are omitted from the account.

“It was a historical injustice that should be repaired as much as possible”, they thought while immersing themselves in the creation of this cantata that recounts the incredible journey through his friend and confidant Andrés de Urdaneta until his death in another expedition in 1526, “deeply indebted” to the cause. The pension I promised Carlos never reached him.

For Loidi, the aim of music in this case is to “enliven and articulate the emotions which the text evokes”, and with this aim, convinced that “the real hero is the whole expedition”, he began to think about how to give it body. The emotions of those sailors, “few expressive, evasive, difficult and very gross”.

“In my town, in Orio (Guipuzcoa), very close to where Elcano was born, emotions flowed through the choir, where people sang and very well”, he says about the reason why the Royal Theater choir will play such an important role. The introduction to this cantata is, in fact, “halfway through the opera, as there are short semi-stage parts by some solo voices”.

For him, that “Shakespearean” story had everything: the invasion of the native population, the persecution of the Portuguese fleet, the mutiny and all the adverse weather and natural wonders, such as the fire of San Telmo, an electrical phenomenon unknown to the sailors. until then and is interpreted as a divine sign.

“The whole orchestra will be at the service of those situations: a storm, the death of mutinous captains, hunger, the sea and death when there is no retreat,” Loidy noted of the main differences with previous premieres. This cantata, which took place in 2018, was then performed with the RTVE Choir and in a quintet arrangement for wind and percussion.

On that occasion, while he shaved his head to better portray the role of the monk Urdaneta, Lade himself would act as the narrator. “But this time, without the tonsure,” he insists with a smile.

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