Sunday, May 18, 2014

Latin American baroque, world music, etc.

While the word isn't mentioned in the YouTube notes, you can hear what creolization sounds like in this choral piece by 17th- and early 18th-century Latin American composer Juan de Araujo … it's on the cusp of Spanish renaissance and baroque, but performed with a distinct Latino beat …

Los Coflades de la estleya, by Juan de Araujo.
Crescendo [an early music group in New England] presented in concert in April 2011 works of the Spanish and Latin American Renaissance. This work, by Juan de Araujo (1646 - 1712), the concluding number on the program, is considerably later than most of the music on the program, and reflects the fusion of Spanish renaissance music with the music of the indigenous peoples of Latin America. Salome Sandoval, also playing the vihuela, Jordan Rose Lee, and Diana Brewer are the soprano soloists. [Blurb: Crescendo "brings rarely heard choral and instrumental music, sacred and secular, performed by professionals and talented amateurs, to the communities of northwestern Connecticut, from western Massachusetts, and from eastern New York State."

Excerpt from Simon Broughton. "Baroque: The Latin American Way." Sinfini Music. 15 March 2013.

At first the music was dominated by the sacred, polyphonic music of the leading composers from Spain, like Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) who never visited Latin America. Hernando Franco (1532-85), born in Spain, was probably the first notable composer to move to the New World where he became chapel master in Santiago de Guatamala, and, in 1575, in Mexico City. Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla (1590-1644), also born in Spain, became chapel master in Puebla in 1629. The polyphonic music is gorgeously beautiful, but at first belongs very much to the European tradition. Things start to get interesting when the Latin and indigenous music starts to mix.

Colonisation was underway all over Latin America, with the Jesuits leading the missions into the areas that are now Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. In the mid-16th century, a Jesuit missionary wrote to his superiors in Europe that with just one orchestra he would be able to convert the whole continent to Catholicism. Sacred music starts to be sung in languages like Quechua (the language of the Incas in Peru) and Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs in Mexico), local dance rhythms start to be heard and the harp takes over from the organ as an instrument of ecclesiastical music.

A new musical identity

You can hear these changes in the music of Juan de Araujo (1646-1712), born in Spain, but who grew up in Lima, Peru and also worked in La Planta (now Sucre), Bolivia. His ‘Los coflades de la estleya’ is fast, rhythmic and clearly related to what would become Afro-Cuban rumba. This piece is a villancico, which exists in both sacred and secular forms, but was often accompanied by local instruments such as rattles and drums.

This Sinfini feature story is a pretty good portal to the whole genre, BTW, with several YouTube clips embedded. The piece titled "Florilegium and Arakaendar Bolivia Choir recording Bolivian Baroque [Vol. 3]" highlights contrasting Spanish and indigenous pronunciations of the word "virgin" in a bouncy little song dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Links to background on period Bolivian music.

Interview with Broughton on Brian Q. Silver's blog World Music From The Voice of America at Broughton, who is an editor of the Rough Guide to World Music and Songlines magazine in London, draws a useful distinction between world music and "'ethnographic music' -- that is, music in the purely traditional styles of the countries of origin, without undue influence from "world music" and its tendencies toward blending and integration." French are big on ethnographic music.

Music and Urban Society in Colonial Latin America. Ed. Geoffrey Baker and Tess Knighton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Amazon blurb: "The fields of colonial history and urban music history are growing areas of interest within musicology. This collection of essays proposes a new view of the history of music in colonial Latin America, and will be of interest to social and cultural historians as well as musicologists. Geoffrey Baker is a Senior Lecturer in the music department, Royal Holloway, University of London. … Tess Knighton is a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and is Editor of the Boydell Press's Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music series. …"

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