In the first part of our exploration of music for the Jesuits, we looked at composers who were primarily from Italy and France. Yet England and Spain also had prominent composers associated with the Catholic order, especially during the Renaissance.
Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria is his native country’s most well known composer whose reputation traveled widely, while William Byrd is arguably England’s finest from the late 16th Century.
The Jesuits were known for their missionary work in far-flung places. One such exotic locale was Beijing, China. French missionaries not only brought their music to China, but they also took Chinese melodies back to Paris.
Domenico Zipoli, who was mentioned in part one of our series, was sent by the Jesuits to work in South America. There, his compositions were pivotal in the conversion of indigenous people to Christianity. A particularly effective way of doing this was to set vocal music in a native language. One excellent example is the motet “Zuipaqui” whose text is in Guaraní, an indigenous language spoken in Bolivia.
In Alsace, Georg Muffat, like many composers, was taught at a Jesuit school where he studied a number of subjects including music. He was also appointed to his first organist position at a Jesuit institution.
Our new release of the week features the recorder music of Alessandro Scarlatti. Franic Colpron and Les Boreades of Montreal perform on a recording from the ATMA label.
Here’s a video of the Tallis Scholars performing William Byrd’s motet “Vigilate”: