Harmonia Early Music

Music for the Jesuits, pt. 2

This week we continue our exploration of composers associated with the Catholic order known as the Jesuits. Plus a new release by Les Boreades of Montreal.

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facade of building

Photo: Armanaziz

The ruins of Saint Paul's Church (Macau, China). Although only its façade remains, the church is evidence of a once thriving Jesuit mission in the Far East.

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”:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo9OnbLLnfE

The music heard in this episode was performed by Ensemble La Real Camara, Stile Antico, Ensemble Elyma, and Anton Steck.

Music Heard On This Episode

Alessandro Scarlatti: Sinfonia in G major for recorder and basso continuo
Les Boreades/Colpron — Concertos for Recorder (ATMA , 2008)
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Alessandro Scarlatti: Sinfonia in G major for recorder and basso continuo
Les Boreades/Colpron — Concertos for Recorder (ATMA , 2008)
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Victoria/Bovicelli: Vadam et circuibo civitatem – instrumental
La Real Camara/Moreno — Tientos y Batallas (Glossa , 2000)
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William Byrd: Mass Propers for Pentecost
Stile Antico — Heavenly Harmonies (Harmonia Mundi , 2008)
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Joseph-Marie Amiot: L’oie se pose/Sanctissima
Various ensembles/Picard — Mass of the Jesuits of Beijing (Astree , 1998)
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Charles D’Ambleville: Sanctus
Various ensembles/Picard — Mass of the Jesuits of Beijing (Astree , 1998)
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Zipoli : Zuipaqui
Ensemble Elyma/Garrido — Zipoli at Chiquitos (K. 617 , 1993)
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Georg Muffat: Sonata in D
Anton Steck (vn), and Christian Rieger (hpd) — Violin Sonatas from the Kremsier Archive (CPO , 2005)
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Alessandro Scarlatti: Sonata (Concerto) in A minor for recorder, two violins, and basso continuo
Les Boreades/Colpron — Concertos for Recorder (ATMA , 2008)
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Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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