Merklin-Schütze organ inaugurated

The Cathedra of Sacred Music of the Padre Félix Varela Cultural Center inaugurates the organ of the firm Merklin-Schütze (Paris / Brussels, 1856) , one of the oldest instruments that we find in our Archdiocese of Havana. As once its melodies resounded at its headquarters in the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of La Caridad, we can hear it today, restored and refunctionalized for the enjoyment of our faithful and visitors in general, adorning the liturgical accompaniment of our religious services.

In Havana today two organs are considered very valuable: the organ of the Church of San Francisco de Paula belonging to the Daublaine-Ducroquet house ( ca. 1845-1855) and restored in 2008 by the Office of the City Historian, and the organ that we revitalize today.

In the current year of the Lord 2019, the restoration of this Merklin-Schütze organ has concluded, which has been transferred since 2017, at the suggestion of our Archbishop SER Mons. Juan de la Caridad García, to a new space in the Church of San Francisco de Asís (Cuba and Amargura, Old Havana). The instrument has been restored by the Swiss Organizer House Ferdinand Stemmer SA in collaboration with the German government, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Foundation for the World Heritage of the UNESCO , and the Baltisches Orgel Centrum, and will habitually dedicate to liturgical, academic and concert actions under the management of the Cathedra of Sacred Music of the Padre Félix Varela Cultural Center.

With this valuable instrument among us, as of today, let us enjoy religious services and sacred-musical activities that contribute to enriching the cultural heritage of the beloved Havana people who are celebrating the 500th anniversary of its foundation.

Palabras del Pbro. Yosvany Carvajal Sureda, Rector del Instituto de Estudios Eclesiásticos Padre Félix Varela y Párroco del Sagrario Catedral de La Habana

II International Workshop on Musical Heritage

From June 24 to 29, 2019, the second edition of the International Workshop on Musical Heritage, sponsored by various Cuban and foreign institutions, among which is the Sacred Music Cathedra of the Padre Félix Varela Cultural Center.

The Workshop was opened by Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, Historian of Havana, and was given by important personalities on the subject. In it, several thesis works on the subject were presented.

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Musicanova Edition 2019

As a result of the systematic work of the Cathedra of Sacred Music of the Padre Félix Varela Cultural Center, MUSICANOVA arrives at its first edition from April 9 to 14, an annual event that aims to focus its interest on contemporary sacred musical composition inside and outside the Island. The musical creation workshops that took place as part of the academic offering of the Havana Sacred Music Week in its six editions, have sparked a compositional practice of new works that link current technical criteria together with the textual and spiritual expression of the Christian faith .

In this way, the accumulation of the visions of some young composers and others of greater trajectory on the religious musical creation for the Christian cult that emerged in recent times, constitute the reason for being of MUSICANOVA. Sacred works adjusted to the requirements of the liturgy and pieces with a religious perspective of
concert will be heard in two concerts entitled Experiments I and II, with the participation of a group of local professional musicians from choral and instrumental groups and soloists of recognized prestige. The pieces shown will also be the result of the musical creation workshop that the German composer Steven Heelein will give these days, a teacher at HfKM (Institute of Sacred Music and Musical Pedagogy of Regensburg, Germany), as well as the theoretical reflection sessions on functionality of sacred music and its link with the dogma that sustains it offered by the musicologist Claudia Fallarero, professor at the Cathedra of Sacred Music. MUSICANOVA has the institutional collaboration of HfKM, as well as the Casa de las Américas; the Esteban Salas Cabinet of Musical Heritage and the Opus Habana Magazine of the Office of the Historian; the National Center for Concert Music of the Cuban Institute of Music; the University of the Arts of Cuba, Higher Institute of Art; the National Center of Art Schools, and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Cuba.

In this first edition, the concerts of MUSICANOVA follow the achievement of the Casa de las Américas 2019 Composition Prize (April 8-12), so that the field of contemporary composition will have days of splendor within the concert scene in the present month of April on the Island, based on thinking and listening to various perspectives on the creation of music in our times.

Opening Concert of the 6th. Sacred Music Week

In the Church of San Francisco de Asís, appointment in Cuba and Amargura in Old Havana, the Opening Concert of the 6th. Sacred Music Week, organized by our Cathedra, which was attended by Mr. Archbishop of Havana, Mons. Juan García and the Apostolic Nuncio of the Pope in Cuba, Mons. Giogio Lingua.

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Merklin-Schütze

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(Paris / Brussels, 1856)

Organ: Merklin-Schütze (Paris / Brussels, 1855-1856) Mechanical instrument with a single manual keyboard and 11 registers. Pedalboard coupled to the manual and without its own voices. Restored in 2018 by the Swiss organ builder Ferdinand Stemmer.

Location: Church of San Francisco de Asís (Calle Cuba corner to Calle Amargura, Old Havana). Original of the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity.

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Graf AG

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(Sursee, 1989) Mechanical instrument with two manual keyboards and pedal board and 15 registers. Donated in 2013 by the Sisters of St. Anna in Luzerna (Switzerland) to the Chair of Sacred Music at the Padre Félix Varela Cultural Center. Assembled at its new headquarters by the Swiss organ builder Ferdinand Stemmer between 2014 and 2015. Repaired by the Spanish organ builder Joaquín Lois in January 2019.

Location: Parroquia del Espíritu Santo (Calle Cuba corner to Calle Acosta, Old Havana)

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Musicanova Edition 2021

After Holy Week, the Cathedra of Sacred Music usually sets out to experience and promote new events that involve music and faith. Almost as an extension of the Sacred Music Week —which this year we have celebrated in digital version from March 7 to 14—, the MusicaNova event opens the zoom a little more, and stops at current and experimental creations of religious music, which Composers from Cuba and from outside the island are proposing today. All of them, authors who draw on the wisdom of the old musicians who master chapels of Collegiate Churches, Convents, Monasteries, Cathedrals and Churches, whose accumulated practice conditioned styles and tastes, at the same time that they bequeathed to successive creators rigor and vocation of service to the liturgy.

In Cuba, we speak of a compositional tradition for Catholic worship that dates back to the 18th century, according to its first documentary evidence. In Europe, it is a much older and widespread exercise, schools quickly assumed in America in times of colonization. After the undeniable transatlantic crossing of musics, composers and performers with mobilities on both sides of the ocean, today it is undeniable that the sacred musical histories of Europe and America are fused in a single tradition, with multiple facets.

That is why this week from April 12 to 16, MusicaNova will be presenting from Facebook, Instagram and Estudio 9 on National Musical Radio, sounds of contemporary and active Cuban and European composers, who dedicate an important part of their catalog to sacred creation. Serve this space to listen to the faith placed in music under other aesthetic codes and updated looks, more typical of our time.