Photo: Robert Blackie
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.