Allegoria at Ghent Festival of Flanders

This autumn a retrospective exhibition of Baroque painter Adriaen Brouwer will be held in his native town of Oudenarde. Brouwer was a master in painting lively folk scenes. With his sublime landscapes he inspired great masters such as Rubens.
As part of the Ghent Festival of Flanders, Zefiro Torna brings the paintings of Brouwer and contemporaries such as the young Pieter Breughel, Frans Hals and Jan Steen to life with soprano Annelies Van Gramberen. The allegorical themes from their graphics and paintings are the guiding principles: Love and Vanity, Death and Transience, Wisdom versus Foolishness and 'Rudities'. Zefiro Torna draws on a treasure trove of picturesque folk and Beggars’ songs and from collections of songs and madrigals by publishers, poets and composers such as Bredero, Vallet and Hacquart.

On Friday 28 September Klara will broadcast live from the MOU Oudenaarde. Jurgen De bruyn will be a guest at Pompidou (5-7pm), and will talk about the symbolic themes that inspired him to create the programme ‘Allegoria’.



Lassus Grand Cru - extra show

Good news for those who were to late to buy a ticket for Lassus Grand Cru on August 22nd at Laus Polyphoniae: this 'tasty' performance with Stefaan Degand will be heard, seen and tasted a second time that same evening. Don't want to miss that? Buy your ticket for the show at 10:15 pm.


On tour with Lassus Grand Cru

Even in the 16th century, people already knew that masterful Renaissance composer Orlandus Lassus's music leaves no one untouched. The fact that his sweet tones created a perfect concordance with great wine, was an open secret.

Zefiro Torna now combines both elements - Lassus's popular repertoire on the one hand, and a selection of exclusive wines on the other – into the sensuous production Lassus Grand Cru. During this musical wine tasting, countertenor and skilled wine expert Steve Dugardin, along with a professional actor, will entertain the audience with exquisite faits divers about Lassus's life.

Zefiro Torna will be touring in Belgium and abroad with this tasteful production.


Spring 2018

"Raise the glass! Start the song! Come, let’s cheer, let’s drink, As long as the bright stars shine, as long as the fine bottle bestows on us its content, and the full glass beckons us to enjoyment. Come, my friends, let’s make a toast! Let us all drink!" (Anon., 16thC)

We would like to raise our glass with you on the dawn of this new year in a literal way: during the performance of Lassus Grand Cru, wine flows abundantly to the sounds of Lassus' sweet and danceable songs. In our performance of Slumber, soprano Lore Binon, cellist Benjamin Glorieux and lutenist Jurgen De bruyn will submerge you in nightly atmospheres. Furthermore, 2018 brings many foreign adventures. Coming spring, Zefiro Torna will tour the Netherlands (Slumber and Lassus Grand Cru), France (Scattered Rhymes), Italy (De Fragilitate), Germany and the Czech Republic (Lassus Grand Cru).

We wish you a creative, lovely and exquisit 2018!


The Allegory of Desire

— The Song of Songs in Western and Oriental traditions (2016)

Zefiro Torna – Vocalconsort Berlin – Ghalia Benali

  1. Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1702) - Meine Freundin, du bist schön (from ‘Hochzeitskantate’/Altbachisches Archiv)
  2. John Dunstable (1390-1453) - Quam pulchra es
  3. Hildegard von Bingen (1098 - 1179) - Ghalia Benali / Text: Abdalla Ghoneem (Egypt,1990) - Favus distillans - Mw'soul
  4. Guillaume de Machaut (c.1300-1377) - Maugré mon cuer - de ma dolour confortés - Quia amore langueo
  5. Ghalia Benali (1968) / Text: Abdalla Ghoneem & Ghalia Benali - Last embrace
  6. Heinrich Schütz (1585 - 1672) - Ego dormio
  7. Ghalia Benali / Text: Zakaria.M (Egypt, 1992) - Dry Veins
  8. Orlandus Lassus (1532-1594) - Veni dilecti
  9. Allessandro Grandi (1586-1630) - O, quam tu pulchra es
  10. Riad Al Sunbaty (Egypt 1906-1981) for Oum Kalthoum / Text: Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya (Iraq 8th C) - Araftu'l Hawa
  11. Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) - Pulchra es (from 'Vespro della beata Vergine')
  12. Dietrich Buxtehude (c.1637-1707) - Ad latus - Surge amica mea (from 'Membra Jesu nostri')
  13. Giovanni Felice Sances (c.1600-1679) - Vulnerasti cor meum
  14. Trad. (Iraq 9th C, Andalusia 14th C) - Lama Bada
  15. Johann Christoph Bach - Mein Freund ist mein (chaconne) from the cantata 'Meine Freundin, du bist schön'
  16. Ghalia Benali - Dama dai'man

The Hebrew Bible contains an extremely mysterious book known as the Song of Salomon, Canticle of Canticles or the Song of Songs. The book reads like a compilation of poems thematically centered around the theme of human love. The main characters are two lovers of the opposite sex. The poetry is rich in its imagery, often plainly erotic and suggestive. The Song of Songs is set in a sublimated world, it can be seen as an allegory for God's love and as a drive for mysticism. For centuries it has formed an inspiration for numerous oriental and western artists as well as scientists.

Was zunächts befremdlich wirkt, wird schnell zu einer grosen Bereicherung; bald schon treten Orient und Okzident in einen Dialog. Gmünder Tagespost – 02.08.2016

Zefiro Torna created this exceptional program in 2013, together with Vocalconsort Berlin and Tunisian singer and artist Ghalia Benali. In this program, single voiced madrigals with instrumental accompaniment, vocal duets and trios, a women's choir and polyphonic settings by composers such as von Bingen, de Machaut, Dunstable, Agricola, Lassus, Grandi, Sances, Monteverdi, Schütz, Buxtehude and J.Ch. Bach interact with traditional Arab songs, narrating texts by ‘Sufi’ poets and by a new generation of poets such as the Egyptian Abdallah Ghoneem. Creating an inspiring dialogue between cultures and history, ‘The Allegory of Desire’ bridges the distance between sacrality and humanity.

During the last couple of years, they gained success on prestigious podiums in Brussels, Berlin, Hamburg, Winterthur, Sevilla, Vilnius and Amsterdam. ‘The Allegory of Desire’ was released by Warner Classics in October 2016.

Zefiro Torna
Cécile Kempenaers soprano
Griet De Geyter soprano
Jowan Merckx flutes, percussion
Romina Lischka viola da gamba, Indian chant
Jurgen De bruyn lute, theorbo, artistic direction

Vocalconsort Berlin
Verena Gropper soprano
Anne Bierwirth alto
Stephan Gähler tenor
Johannes Klugling tenor
Christoph Drescher bass

Ghalia Benali Arabic chant, compositions

Musical supervision: Manuel Mohino
Audio recording, mixing and editing: Manuel Mohino
Booklet text: Ilja Stephan & Jurgen De bruyn
Photograph cover: Lieven Dirckx
Photographs booklet: Sebastian Bolesch
Artwork: Jef Cuypers
Production Warner Music: Brigitte Ghyselen
Recorded: June 2016, Eglise Saint-Rémi, Franc-Waret

Released by Warner Classics