This year marks the fifth centenary of the birth of Teresa of Jesus, founder of the order of the Discalced Carmelites, and mystic writer, who has aroused a significant interest in cultural studies from several perspectives. Among the events organised for the occasion, the International Conference ‘Y tan alta vida espero… Santa Teresa o la llama permanente. De 1515 a 2015’ took place this week in two venues: the Faculty of Philology of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday) and the Palace of Los Serrano in Ávila (on Thursday).
The Conference brought together not only academics from a variety of disciplines, but also poets, writers, names from the world of cinema, and the coordinator of the events organized by the Comisión Nacional del V Centenario del Nacimiento de Santa Teresa de Jesús, P. Emilio José Martínez, O.C.D. (Pontificia Facultad Teresianum, Rome), around the figure of Teresa of Jesus. For instance, on Wednesday afternoon, Jesús Sánchez Adalid commented on the creative process of his historical novel Y de repente, Teresa, commissioned in the context of the commemorative events of the centenary, while Rafael Gordon, Jerónimo José Martín, and Isabel Ordaz participated in a round table to discuss representations of Saint Teresa in theatre and cinema.
Tess and I attended the Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tess’s lecture commented on the relationship between music and spirituality at the time of Saint Teresa, emphasizing the association between female voices and angels (‘Voces angélicas, voces femeninas: música y espiritualidad en la época de Santa Teresa’). My paper discussed music and soundscape in the festivities celebrated on the occasion of the beatification of Saint Teresa in dozens of Iberian towns and cities in October 1614 (‘Música y paisaje sonoro en las fiestas de beatificación de Santa Teresa en 1614’). On Tuesday evening we enjoyed the concert presented by Capella Prolationum and La Danserye ensemble, entitled ‘Fémina y andariega: la música en tiempos de Santa Teresa’ and prepared by Juan Ruiz Jiménez as musicological adviser. This four-part musical itinerary aimed to recreate the soundscapes related to Saint Teresa, from her youth to her death in Alba de Tormes in 1582. Wind players and singers performed from facsimile reproductions of a variety of Hispanic sources.
I learned a lot from topics related to my own research addressed by experts in fields different from musicology, such as orality and writing in the sixteenth century (José Jesús de Bustos Tovar; María Jesús Mancho); theatre at the time of Saint Teresa using relaciones as source material (Ignacio Arellano); the role of Maria Eugenia of Austria in the publication of Saint Teresa’s works (Víctor de la Lama Cruz); and the representations of the Saint in painting and architecture (Beatriz Blasco Esquivias; Maïte Metz), among many others. Congratulations to Esther Borrego, director of the Conference, Álvaro Bustos, secretary, and their team.