Iberia: Music across Portugal and Spain

The statement by the writer José Saramago, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, that Portugal and Spain would one day be joined in a country called Iberia, became well-known. Earlier, in his book The Stone Raft (1986), Saramago wrote about the physical separation of the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of the European continent as a consequence of a series of supernatural phenomena.

Regardless of national issues, the truth is that there is an immense common or dialogic historical and cultural heritage that unites the two countries and their different regions.

Over two days, 24 and 25 November, four concerts will attest to this same complicity, bringing together a series of works by composers of Iberian origin or inspiration, as well as pieces that document and are a consequence of the paths of musicians who built their career by crossing to the other side of the border. This is what we’ll hear in “Meandros Musicais do Tejo” (Musical Meanderings of the Tagus), with Ana Quintans and Carlos Mena, and in the carefully devised programme by the conductor Pedro Teixeira for the Gulbenkian Choir.

Without needing to physically separate the Iberian territory from the rest of Europe, "Iberia - Music between Portugal and Spain" invites us to celebrate music created in another country, whose identity is so close that in many cases one is confused with the other. With Pierre Hantaï, the Quiroga Quartet and Jonathan Brown, a member of the Casals Quartet, this fundamental concern is also present in defence of a musical heritage that must be kept alive as a means of bringing the Iberian peoples closer to their precious legacy.