Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Music of the American Baroque

This might be a load of nonsense bringing these two ideas together but it is an excuse for beautiful music, so here goes. Is there a connection?

I was talking to one of our students recently she showed me a picture on her phone of her siblings they were all under 18 and where all playing orchestral stringed instrument, the littlest one had a half sized cello, they part of El Sistema, the remarkable Venuzuelan musical education system, that seems change poor children into orchestral musicians. The youth orchestra makes an incredible impact wherever it plays.

Sandro Magister has a fascinating piece on the music of the Reductions, the Jesuit Missions in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia. If you like Baroque music then have a search on Youtube for the music of Domenico Zipoli and Martin Schmid, European Jesuits working in South America.

It opens up all sorts of question about how evangelisation took place and can take place today.

This last piece is a favourite of mine, a Magnificat by Hernando Franco working in Mexico, I like the gentle move from chant to polyphony.
Whilst you are listening, we really do need a few more good singers here - see what you can persuade Our Lady and the Wise Men to do for the space of a Magnificat - God is good.

The pictures here are quite interesting

Here is someone playing reconstructions of pre-Columbian Mayan flutes - interesting sounds - some are quite horrific looking instruments - the skulls and heads, I mean.


The Rev. M. Forbes said...

Thank you Father. This is an innteresting post and honors a high civilization whose members embraced Christianity, even if poor pastoral care eventually made that problematic.

The development of high Catholic culture in Latin America in the 17th and18th centuries remain an undertold story.


Physiocrat said...

The Schmid reminds me of German music of the period - at a guess I would have said it was by Biber or one of the Leipzig or Dresden composers.

Ben Whitworth said...

There was a programme a few months ago - I think it was on the BBC World Service - about Catholic youth choirs in Bolivia. Their success (both in terms of musical achievement & in helping poor children develop skills, confidence, &c.) is every bit as impressive as that of El Sistema, but their aims explicitly include spiritual formation. The repertoire they focus on is the American Baroque, and they look to the 'reductions' for their inspiration.

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