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The 18th Cartagena Music Festival will be held from Friday, January 5, to Saturday, January 13, 2024, and its theme will be “Symphony of Nature.”

Over time, nature has inspired artists, particularly musicians, who have produced works of a very different poetic, stylistic and aesthetic nature. Composers from different historical periods (Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Grieg, Debussy, Sibelius and many others) have poured into their scores the sensations and thoughts generated by the contemplation of the sky, the earth, the waters, the noises, the murmurs and the silences.

One of the sources of inspiration, from its beginnings until today, has been nature and its multiple manifestations. However, until Romanticism and far beyond there was a clear tendency to reduce the concept of nature to its most picturesque and harmless expressions.

From Janequin’s “Bird Song” to “Forest Murmurs” from Wagner’s Sigfried, passing through Danquin’s “Coucou”, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, Beethoven’s famous “Pastoral” Symphony, the Overture from Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides and the “Scene in the Fields” from Berlioz’s Fantastic Symphony; nature has poured streams of fresh air into the hermeneutical space enclosed in the concert halls.


With attentive ears, we can realize that harmonic sound is part of the world where we live. The chirping of birds, the humming of bees, the murmur of the sea, the haughty song of waterfalls or the moan of the wind are integrated into the echoes of our natural environment and their effect is evident.


The mood changes easily under the influence of natural sound stimuli, so that one is calm when it comes to sounds that convey calm, or tense when they announce danger or threat, as in the eerie roar of the hurricane or the powerful burst of the storm.


In the first experience, they will take us by surprise, but in the future we will identify their content, so that the body gets used to their effects. However, the capacity for amazement in the face of the inextinguishable beats of the orchestra that nature offers us always remains in sensitive spirits.


Undoubtedly, the natural environment most praised by both musicians and poets is the sea, the benefactor of fearsome beauty, the source of life and the bosom of death. The sea, which is loved and feared because of that immanent subjugating duality; God and goddess who nourishes the bodies and spirits that flow from their silver udders, without ceasing to engulf them. Immeasurable matrix and gigantic coffin of unmistakable music.


In the same way that we affirm that the marine environment dominates the space of nature in music, we can assure that the most imitated animals are birds, especially because they possess a quality that other living beings lack. So, amazed by the flourishes of singers such as the nightingale or the goldfinch, primitive man would try at the dawn of sound imitation to reproduce their trills of territoriality or courtship.


The solemnity of the open spaces and the thickets of vegetation are breathed in the music of some masters, with differentiations of echoes and rumors. There is a rhythm of its own in the bowels of the Nordic forests and a different one in the rainforests. The white mountains reveal their genuine voice and a different one, which is no less, the infinite plains. And each particular vision of those soundscapes recreates the natural environment and imbues it with its peculiar flagrancy.


Se escuchan voces solistas y cánticos corales alternando en el curso de la armoniosa y, en ocasiones, disonante corriente. Sin detenerse, suenan a veces indómitos y, en otras, mansos, hasta ser abrazados por el mar. En un estuario sinfónico o en un delta concertante, los ríos afinan del mismo modo.


Rivers are also elements of physical geography that have given rise to the creation of splendid musical pages. The sap that nourishes the earth and that does not stop its course until it merges with the immensity of the sea, favors and creates plant and animal life. Consequently, human settlement on its shores is something composers could not ignore.

Solo voices and choral songs are heard alternating in the course of the harmonious and, sometimes, dissonant current. Without stopping, they sometimes sound untamed and, at other times, tame, until they are embraced by the sea.


The different seasons of the year, with their references of the emergence of life, dominating sun, golden fallen leaves and cold white landscape, were also tried to be captured in the scores. Or, at least, the moments that awakened a certain emotion, exposed to the astral heat or in the rain, in broad light or in the mystery of the night. It is a more diffuse way of representing nature and, however, a broader one, not limited to specific spaces or geographical boundaries.