El Cant de la Sibil·la (Catedral de Palma de Mallorca) Cristina Van Roy, Soprano Capella Mallorquina, J.M. Moreno Tomeu Veny, Órgano Diciembre 2009 | Youtube: Cristina Van Roy


Merry Christmas concert

Pablo Urbina is a young Spanish conductor who is a graduate of the Royal College of Music in London. He spent a two-year tenure as assistant conductor to Pablo Mielgo with the Balearic Symphony Orchestra and he continues to be a regular guest conductor. Which he is this week, as the orchestra offers a ‘Petita Simfonica’ under the title of ‘Merry Christmas’.
The programme will include John Higgins’ arrangement of ‘Christmas on Broadway’, selections from Salvador Brotons’ arrangement ‘Nadales catalanes’ (Catalan carols); a selection from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker’; and David Stone’s arrangement of Handel’s ‘Water Music’.

Wednesday, 8pm, Palacio de Congresos, Palma.

Posidonia’s Christmas concert

Posidonia are one of those Majorcan groups who are hard to classify. Mediterranean music might best sum them up, although that is perhaps a little nebulous. Folk, poetic, their name conjures up their essence - rooted in the islands and the environment, of which the posidonia sea grass is a vital element.

Their Christmas concert is ‘Sound the Bells’, a sharing of Christmas through music and carols and of a spirit of Christmas removed from commercialism and characterised by the joy of children and family union.

They are: Marta Elka vocals and violin; Toni Pastor lute and guitar; Bernat Cabot violin; Marko Lohikari double bass; Pep Balaguer guitar; Moisés Pelegri percussion.

Thursday, 8pm, Teatre Mar i Terra, C. Sant Magi 89-91, Palma.

The chant of the sibil·la on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is a celebration in Mallorca which is made extra special because of the declaration made in 2010. The Cant de la Sibil·la, Song of the Sybil, was declared a Unesco item of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The roots go back further than the thirteenth century, but it was in that century that the chant became part of the liturgy in Mallorca. The relationship between the chant and the church wasn’t always smooth. The Council of Trent of the sixteenth century banned it from churches, but Mallorca was where the tradition was upheld, albeit with some difficulty.

It is believed that the Sermó de la Calenda dates from the sixteenth century and from Palma Cathedral. A child announces the happy event of the birth of the Son of God and invites the faithful to celebrate and share the joy of the birth. The Cant de l’Àngel (Song of the Angel) is more modern - the late nineteenth century. It was originated by the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts at Lluc Monastery and it and the Sermon form parts of the Matins service for Christmas Eve along with the Sibil·la.

Matins is essentially the same in all churches, one of the most anticipated naturally being at the Cathedral. It will be broadcast live by IB3 for those who cannot attend in person.

Friday, 11pm, Palma Cathedral.

Cappella group Xmas day concert

Cap Pela are an exceptional vocal group. Highly regarded in Mallorca and in Spain, this seven-member a cappella group have been in existence since 1994. They have a wide repertoire that has seen them take part in folk music festivals, perform the blues and jazz, and sing at the Torrent de Pareis concert in Sa Calobra in July.

A Christmas Day concert has become something of a tradition for them. This year’s is entitled ‘Encén els llums’ (Turn on the Lights). The programme will include their own version of the Sibil·la as well as carols like ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen’ and The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s ‘Fairytale of New York’.

Saturday, 7.30pm, Manacor Auditorium, Passeig Ferrocarril, Manacor.