Czech Requiem for the Portuguese Forest

Czech Requiem for the Portuguese Forest

The eyes also shuddered and those of Martina Videnová did not want to believe when, a few years ago, on a walk along the Portuguese roads, they witnessed a dozen fires in two hours’ walk.

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“I was shocked,” he tells JN. He felt that he “had to help in some way.” First he thought to take a documentary photography exhibition to Prague, but then came 2017 and with him “Portugal’s biggest ecological crisis”: a sixth of the country’s forest in ashes and more than a hundred dead, prostrate, in the collective memory national. The original idea imposed another gravity. It was when the Czech composer, who fell in love with Portugal because of the “musicality” of the language, thought to compose a “requiem to the Portuguese forest”. A requiem is a mass for the dead, a musical composition usually played at funerals. Tomás Valle, the Porto who is helping production, describes the requiem as a tribute, but also as a “little provocation”, a call for an unresolved problem. She agreed to help Martina out of admiration and some “embarrassment,” seeing “someone outside doing this while we continue to look sideways.”

To be realized, the “Home is the Place Where Fire Burns” project is looking for funding on the “gogetfunding.com” platform. The idea is to record the composition on a disc and present it in concert, in a symbolic “room”: the scene of a recently burned forest. It also includes a photographic exhibition and a black and white video of the concert. It involves more than 60 people, including musicians from the Orchestra and the Choir of Casa da Música.

If you reach the goal – about 6 thousand euros – the album will be recorded in Porto next month. To JN, Martina Videnová says that the requiem is closed, is about nine minutes and is “minimalist”. “All this project is a huge responsibility,” he concluded.