Harmonia Early Music

Music of Spanish Colonial Latin America

Fine recordings of early music from Latin America with Ex Cathedra, Ensemble Elyma, the Boston Camerata, Canto, Florilegium, and Musica Temprana.

pink baroque church

Photo: Robert Blackie

The Spanish Colonial 'Iglesia del Calvario' (León, Nicaragua).

Ex Cathedra (Jeffrey Skidmore, dir.)

The music of Spanish Colonial Latin America is rich in flavor, history, and expression. More and more recordings are now available that show it to have been a unique melding of many cultures. The recent three-volume Hyperion label series by the English choir Ex Cathedra is a terrific survey, which includes large-scale choral works by some of the more exceptional composers of the New World.

Boston Camerata (Joel Cohen, dir.)

Many of the Boston Camerata’s recordings have been critically acclaimed, and rightfully so. Their 1994 recording of music from early Latin America (‘Nueva España’) is a beautiful exploration of sensuous and lively pieces by composers such as Juan de Padilla, Antonio Salazar, and Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia.

Ensemble Elyma (Gabriel Garrido, dir.)

Gabriel Garrido and Ensemble Elyma are one of the world’s great champions of early Latin American music. Their many recordings on the K617 label can attest to as much. Their performances are energetic, intensely moving, and often gorgeous.

Florilegium (Ashley Solomon, dir.)

Florilegium’s Bolivian Baroque series on the Channel Classics label is an impressive undertaking and one beautifully realized. Recorded in Bolivia, the London-based ensemble went to great lengths in order achieve their lofty goals. Their use of native Bolivian singers is a particularly nice touch.

Canto (Egberto Bermudez, dir.)

Ensemble Canto* has explored quite a bit of Spanish Colonial repertoire, primarily centered on Colombia. Directed by Egberto Bermudez, the group has a terrific energy and a unique sound.

*Canto’s recordings may be purchased from the website of the Fundación de Musica (Colombia).

Musica Temprana (Adrian Rodriguez Van Der Spoel, dir.)

Musica Temprana’s 2008 Etcetera label release contains an excellent and varied program of small-scale pieces. In particular, the ensemble’s two sopranos are exceptional, beautifully balanced, and captivate the listener.

Music Heard On This Episode

Juan de Araujo: “Los coflades de la estleya”
Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore — New World Symphonies: Baroque Music from Latin America (Hyperion, 2003)
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Juan de Araujo: “Los coflades de la estleya”
Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore — New World Symphonies: Baroque Music from Latin America (Hyperion, 2003)
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Diego Jose de Salazar: “¡Salga el torillo hosquillo!”
Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore — Fire Burning In Snow (Hyperion, 2007)
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Juan Guitterrez de Padilla: “Ay, ay Galeguinos”
Boston Camerata/Joel Cohen — Nueva España (Erato, 1994)
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Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia: “A este sol peregrino”
Boston Camerata/Joel Cohen — Nueva España (Erato, 1994)
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Gaspar Fernandes: “Principio de la Pandorga”—Instrumental, and “Llegan los cuatro al portal”
Ensemble Elyma and the Coro de la Ciudad de la Alhambra/Gabriel Garrido — Music from Oaxaca Cathedral: Works by Gaspar Fernandes and Manuel Sumaya (K617 , 2004)
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Anonymous: Motet “Caima, Iyai Jesus” – III. “Acuacirica inema”
Florilegium/Ashley Solomon — Bolivian Baroque, vol. 1 (Channel Classics , 2004)
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Anonymous: Traditional Bolivian melody
Florilegium/Ashley Solomon — Bolivian Baroque, vol. 2 (Channel Classics , 2006)
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Anonymous : “Canción de un negro al niño Dios”
Canto and Gregor/Egberto Bermudez — Armonía Andina (Fundacion de Musica (Colombia), 1999)
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Anonymous: Lectura/“Serenisima una noche”
Canto/Egberto Bermudez — Al Dichoso Nacer de Mi Niño (Fundacion de Musica (Colombia), 2002)
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Anonymous: “Dime Pedro”
Musica Temprana/Adrian Rodriguez Van Der Spoel — Avecillas Sonoras: Villancicos from 18th Century Latin America (Etcetera, 2008)
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Anonymous: Jacara “Oigan, escuchen, atiendan”
Musica Temprana/Adrian Rodriguez Van Der Spoel — Avecillas Sonoras: Villancicos from 18th Century Latin America (Etcetera, 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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