Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Peruvian Anonymous, Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, Juan de Araujo|
Moon, Sun & All Things
This CD will be all things to many music lovers
M. C. Passarella | Lawrenceville, GA | 01/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sequels most often seem to turn out disappointments. Luckily, that isn't the case with "Moon, Sun & All Things," which is a follow-up to Ex Cathedra's "New World Symphonies." The musical experience may in fact be of a higher order this time around. Whereas the first disc featured some fairly average settings of portions of the Latin mass, the new disc follows the program of a Vespers service, and Jeffrey Skidmore chooses wisely and well to fill out the program. I hope it doesn't show undo bias to say that the finest work here is by a composer with the strongest bona fides as far as European musical training is concerned. It is also by far the longest and most ambitious: the "Beatus Vir" by Domenico Zipoli, a student of Alessandro Scarlatti. Living and working Paraguay after 1716, Zipoli creates a work that reminds me more of Vivaldi than of Scarlatti. Unlike the usually gentler emotional complexion of Scarlatti's music (what I know of it, anyway), this has some of the dash and fire of Vivaldi's own famous setting, right down to the angry vocalization on the words "dentibus suis fremet" ("he [the wicked] shall gnash with his teeth"). Equally Vivaldian, and almost as lovely, is Zipoli's "Ave maris stella." Well, lovely, that is, except for the inclusion of the weird and wonderful tromba marina, which sounds like a cross between a crumhorn and a kazoo. But what other instrument to use in a piece dedicated to the "Star of the Sea" (a.k.a. the Virgin Mary)?
Zipoli may provide the most polished music; however, "Moon, Sun & All Things" celebrates more than mere polish. The anonymous "Hanacpachap cussicuinin" from Peru has the haunting, otherworldly quality of the best Renaissance polyphony. And Manuel de Sumaya, although a native of Mexico City, reminds one again of Vivaldi. Sumaya's setting of "Albricias mortales!" ("Rejoice, mortals!") is bracing, with its solo trumpet and massed choral entries.
Interspersed with all this skillfully written liturgical music are popular choral works called villancios. These include Diego de Salazar's rambunctious "Salga el torillo hosquillo!" about bullfight and Juan de Araujo's jubilant celebration of the birth of Jesus, "Ay, andar!" Incidentally, the same composer contributes one of the more rarefied works to this collection, a beautiful--though rather archaic-sounding--setting of "Dixit Dominus."
So for sheer variety, this CD has much to offer. Even better, that variety is matched by the high quality of most of the compositions. For Jeffrey Skidmore, who tracked down this music in libraries of North and South America, the production is clearly a labor of love. And the love shows through; Ex Cathedra performs with joy and reverence throughout, and the results are wonderfully enjoyable. The recording, too, is even finer than that accorded the first CD. There is just enough reverberation to suggest the cathedrals of the New World, where this music would have been played and sung, but everything is crystal clear as well, including that wonderfully exotic percussion. Bravo, Hyperion!"
A fantastic program of early music from Latin America
Russ | Richmond, VA | 07/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a rich and varied program of sacred and secular music from Latin America composed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This CD is actually a "sequel" to the "New World Symphonies" CD, released in 2003. If you enjoyed that program, you probably have already purchased this CD. If you missed the earlier release, I would start with this volume over the first, as it is more varied and contains material that is not available elsewhere. Here is some brief background information on the significant composers represented on this program:
Juan Gutierrez de Padilla (c. 1590-1664): Born in Spain, moved to Mexico in 1622
Juan de Araujo (1646-1712): Born in Spain, moved to Peru as a child, composed in Bolivia
Francisco Lopez Capillas (c. 1615-1673): Probably born in Spain, worked under Padilla in Mexico
Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726): Born in Tuscany, studied under Scarlatti, moved to Paraguay in 1716
Although this music, temporally, is from the Baroque period, much of the style reminds me of the renaissance. For instance, many of the tracks are accompanied by cornetts and sackbuts, something I consider part of the renaissance tradition. As with the "New World Symphonies" CD, the program begins with "Hanacpachap cussicuinin" an anonymous processional written in the Quechua language. This piece represents the earliest written polyphony in South America. On the present CD, the orchestration is altered and new versus are used in comparison with the version present on the first volume. This really is a fantastic piece, so it's no wonder it is reprised on the current volume.
The other music on the CD ranges from meditative choral pieces (Track 14) to lively dance pieces (Track 8) accompanied by a wide variety of percussion, including castanets and rain sticks(!). The pieces by Zipoli and Sumaya are firmly planted in the Baroque tradition. In fact, you might mistake Zipoli's 12 minute "Beatus vir" (scored for Baroque ensemble, solo soprano and chorus) for one of Vivaldi's sacred compositions. While the vibrant villancicos of Araujo, and the choral music of Capillas (think Gabrieli with less brass), remind me much more of the renaissance period.
Araujo, in particular, seems to be a major voice whose sacred and secular music should be more widely known. "Salga el torillo hosquillo" (Track 4), which is attributed to both Araujo and Salazar, would be a real crowd pleaser and is one of my favorites on this CD. Likewise, Araujo's "Ay, Andar" (Track 15), with its mesmerizing rhythm alterations between 3 + 3 and 2 + 2 + 2 patterns and "everything but the kitchen sink" orchestration, really is interesting. The musicians really have fun with this one - maybe a little too much fun ("Ay, Ay, Aye" lady, I'm talking to you).
This is a great CD, and is highly recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in early music. Full translations in English included within the CD notes. If you like this program, I would also pickup the Missa Mexicana CD recorded by the Harp Consort, featuring the compositions of Padilla.
Beautiful music from Latin America
Kilgore Trout | WA | 05/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the earlier reviewer said, this is a worthy companion to Ex Cathedra's "New World Symphonies".
I gave the other recording 6 stars out of 5, but only give this one a mere (!) 5 stars - simply because a couple of the soloists on a couple of pieces in this recording have a bit more of an 'operatic' sound than I care for. ~ But that's a minor quibble, and something that most people wouldn't mind, or even notice.
As I said on the related review of "New World Symphonies", this music often has a sense of ecstatic dancing, to my ears anyway.
These are the first records I've ever heard from the genre of Renaissance and Baroque music from Latin America, and I look forward to exploring the other CDs that are available."