Piffaro, the Renaissance Band’s latest CD is Los Ministriles in the New World, early music by Spanish composers in the Old and New World.
In 1980 there were plenty of early music groups, viol consorts, recorder ensembles, madrigal singers, a few brass quintets that dabbled in Gabrieli, but Piffaro was something brand new.
The Beginning Of Piffaro’s Journey
“That’s right” says co-founder Joan Kimball. “A number of players in the collegium under the direction of Mary Anne Ballard were already starting to play some of the early double reeds. And we were intrigued to work on our own rather than to just be integrated into the rest of the collegium with those viols and recorders. Then we added other winds like the sackbuts to create what was the premiere instrumental ensemble of the period in the Renaissance.”
Los Ministriles Continues The Journey
“We had done a whole series of recordings in the nineties based on national collocations of music and composers: Italian, French, German, Spanish, and English,” said co founder Bob Wiemken. “Then we had been doing a fair amount of performing and building programs around New World repertoire and thought that that was ideally the next project to undertake.”
“Some of the composers of los Ministriles were born in the Old World of Spain or Portugal and came to the New World with the musicians that came over to work with the church,” noted Kimball. “There are also a number of composers who though of Spanish origin were born in the New World. All were heavily influenced by Spain and Portugal.”
Los Ministriles, Spanish, Yes, But…
“But,” Wiemken adds, “even though the music of Los Ministriles is heavily Spanish there are other flavors as well. In the process of researching we found a really wonderful repertoire highly influenced by African, by Central American, South American and even Cuban elements. Even though it’s heavily Spanish, there’s quite a different sound in a number of the pieces.”