Sacred music in Fribourg
The city of Fribourg will have a strong international presence this week as its festival of sacred music gets underway. Groups from nine countries are performing in a programme ranging from medieval to contemporary works.
With eight of the groups coming from Europe the emphasis is as usual on the Christian liturgy.
The ninth - a music and dance ensemble from Syria - will be interpreting the "Sufi" liturgy from the Grand Mosque of Damascus, which is used as an aid to meditation.
"Since the last festival we have endeavoured to open it up to the music of other religious traditions," said its president, Franz Muheim. "I believe one of the highlights this year will be provided by our Syrian guests."
Muheim added that the organisers were expecting visitors from far afield as well as from the Fribourg region: "We have felt a growing public interest in sacred music not only for its high quality at this festival but also because of what it represents as an expression of spirituality."
The festival is also paying tribute to a prominent local composer, Norbert Moret, who died in 1998. Included in the programme is a concert of one of his works, which was inspired by the Fribourg mountains. This, say the organisers, will be in keeping with the festival theme - the spirit of nature.
by Richard Dawson
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