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Mexico City Music

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Welcome to Harmonia…I’m Angela Mariani. When the Spanish came to Mexico, they encountered an Aztec empire with a rich musical culture. In the three centuries of colonial rule that followed, Mexico City artists gained fame for their musicianship in and beyond the walls of the city’s cathedral. We’ll hear music from some of these famed musicians. Plus . . . vocal ensembles Calmus and amarcord team up for our featured release Leipziger Disputation.

[Just a quick note before we begin . . . I’m recording this in March of 2020, during the historic global pandemic, which means that I’m recording this voice track at my house—and you may well hear some musical contributions by the many feathered friends in my yard.]

MUSIC TRACK

Leipziger Disputation
Calmus Ensemble - and - amarcord
Carus, 2019 / B07Q26XRXL
Josquin des Prez
Tr. 4 De profundis (4:39)

“De profundis,” by Josquin des Prez performed by vocal ensembles Calmus and amarcord. We’ll hear more about Renaissance Leipzig and these ensembles later on [our] featured release, Leipziger Disputation.

Manuel Zumaya was a child prodigy. At the age of twelve, he lost his father, which in turn put in question his future as a professional musician. But, the Cathedral in Mexico City, where the young Zumaya was training, saved the day and decided to foot the bill. Zumaya would go on to work in two of 18th-century New Spain’s most important cathedrals. This is music from Zumaya’s Cantata to Saint Peter, written for the Cathedral in Oaxaca. 

MUSIC TRACK

Musique à la Cathédrale d'Oaxaca
Coro Ciudad de la Alhambra AND Ensemble Elyma / Gabriel Garrido, cond.
Phaia Music 2004 / B073V4DW9F
Manuel Zumaya
Tr. 22 Si ya a aquella nave, "Cantata al Sr. San Pedro": Del vago eminente … (03:27)
Tr. 23 Si ya a aquella nave, "Cantata al Sr. San Pedro": Aunque al sueño … (05:36)

We heard Manuel Zumaya’s Cantata to Saint Peter. The City of Alhambra Choir performed with Ensemble Elyma, directed by Gabriel Garrido.

While growing up in Mexico City, Zumaya was able to train with some of the best musicians in the New World. His composition teacher was music director at Mexico City Cathedral Antonio de Salazar. Salazar had a few hard knocks as well—apparently, when he first applied to play dulcian as a chapel musician at Mexico City Cathedral, he was turned down. After a few years working in Puebla, Salazar returned to Mexico City for a composition competition, which he won in a landslide, receiving four times as many votes as the second-place finisher.  This is his “Salve regina” setting, a hymn to the Virgin Mary.

MUSIC TRACK

Chanticleer: Then and There, Here and Now
Chanticleer / cond. William Fred Scott
Warner Classics 2018 / B07VYRZPZ3
Antonio de Salazar (arr. C.R. Russell)
Tr. 10 Salve regina (5:52)

Chanticleer, directed by William Fred Scott, performed “Salve regina,” by New World baroque composer Antonio de Salazar.

By the mid-eighteenth century, Italian-born Ignacio Jerusalem was composing for Mexico City Cathedral. The Cathedral was at first hesitant to hire Jerusalem—his modern compositional style was a radical change for musically conservative Mexico City. But despite the cathedral’s lukewarm attitude towards the Italian composer, Jerusalem led the charge in modernizing choir texts—both music and words—and he doubled the size of the capilla—the chapel’s orchestra. We’ll hear an excerpt of his setting of Psalm 50, “Miserere mei, Deus.”

MUSIC TRACK

Suavidad al aire: Cantatas y Arias del México Virreinal
Eugenia Ramírez (soprano) / Camerata de Aguascalientes / Horacio Franco, cond.
Quindecim Recordings 2001 /B075KYBMKT
Ignacio Jerusalem
Tr. 10 Psalm 50 Miserere mei, Deus: II. Benigne fac (6:41)

Psalm 50, set by Ignacio Jerusalem. The Camerata de Aguascalientes was led by Horacio Francio, featuring soprano Eugenia Ramírez.

You can hear highlights from recent and archival concert recordings of early music on Harmonia Uncut, our biweekly podcast, curated and hosted by Wendy Gillespie. Listen online at harmonia early music dot org and through iTunes.

You’re listening to Harmonia . . .  I’m Angela Mariani.

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed:
Musique à la Cathédrale d'Oaxaca
Coro Ciudad de la Alhambra AND Ensemble Elyma / Gabriel Garrido, cond.
Phaia Music 2004 / B073V4DW9F
Gaspar Fernandez
Tr. 16 La Fiesta de Corpus: Danza a 3 y responsión a 5 (excerpt of 2:14)

As early as 1600, cities at the core of New Spain—like Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca—had music scenes that rivaled Seville. This is a reflection of the fact that these locations already had formidable musical traditions that preceded the arrival of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere. Aztec musicians sang hours of music from memory; and, in a more grim example, drummers who missed a rhythm during a ceremony were executed.

Sixteenth-century Spanish composer Hernando Franco moved to Mexico City mid-career, part of an expanding enterprise that included the building of a new cathedral there. Franco raised the salaries of instrumentalists and singers at the cathedral and took care of the music archives. But, he was far from perfect—the church spent considerable funds paying off his gambling debt. What’s more, the church wasn’t able to sustain these high salaries for long. Franco quit and his musicians refused to perform for a time. Here’s a piece by Franco in the indigenous language of náhuatl: “Dios itlaço nantzine.

MUSIC TRACK

Nuevo Mundo: 17th Century Music in Latin America
Ensemble Elyma / Gabriel Garrido, cond.
Glossa 2017 / B073QZNHTW
Hernando Franco
Tr. 12 In ilhuicac (2:08)
Tr. 13 Dios itlaço nantzine (2:23) “Dios itlaço nantzine” by Hernando Franco. Ensemble Elyma was led by Gabriel Garrido.

We turn now from the New World to the Old, with music in the time of Martin Luther and the Leipzig Disputation. This theological debate at the university led to a final break with Catholicism for northern Germany. One way the Reformation theologists supported their arguments was through music. A Mass for twelve musicians was performed, and it was so astonishing that Leipzig’s musical reputation grew beyond the walls of the city for the first time. It is possible that this was the Mass “Et ecce terrae motus” by Antoine Brumel. Here are the Kyrie and Agnus Dei.

MUSIC TRACK

Leipziger Disputation
Calmus Ensemble - and - amarcord
Carus, 2019 / B07Q26XRXL
Antoine Brumel
Tr. 2 Missa Et ecce terrae motus: Kyrie (5:46)
Tr. 13 Missa Et ecce terrae motus: Agnus Dei I (2:54)
Tr. 14 Missa Et ecce terrae motus: Agnus Dei II (3:21)

The Kyrie and Agnus Dei from the “Et ecce terrae motus” Mass by Antoine Brumel. That was the Calmus Ensemble and amarcord, from their 2019 recording, Leipziger Disputation.

Our featured release stars Calmus ensemble and amarcord, both founded in the ‘90s. Leipzig-based ensemble Calmus enjoys performing and teaching throughout Europe and North and South America. Ensemble amarcord manages the International Festival of Vocal Music “a capella” in Germany. We’ll close with a piece by one of Brummel’s successor’s in Ferrara: Cipriano de Rore.

MUSIC TRACK

Leipziger Disputation
Calmus Ensemble - and - amarcord
Carus, 2019 / B07Q26XRXL
Cipriano de Rore
Tr. 11 Usquequo Domine à 5 (7:01)

Amarcord sang the Latin motet “Usquequo Domine.” Music by Cipriano de Rore.

[Fade in theme music]

Harmonia is a production of WFIU. Support comes from Early Music America which strengthens and celebrates early music by supporting the people and organizations that perform, study, and find joy in it....on the web at EarlyMusicAmerica-DOT-org.

Additional resources come from the William and Gayle Cook Music Library at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

We welcome your thoughts about any part of this program, or about early music in general. Contact us at harmonia early music dot org. And, you can follow our Facebook page and our updates on Twitter by searching for Harmonia Early Music.

The writer for this edition of Harmonia was Sarah Huebsch Schilling.

Thanks to our studio engineer Michael Paskash, and our production team: Aaron Cain, Wendy Gillespie, LuAnn Johnson and John Bailey. I’m Angela Mariani, inviting you to join us again for the next edition of Harmonia.

Painting of Oaxaca Cathedral by José María Velasco, 1887

Painting of Oaxaca Cathedral by Mexican artist José María Velasco, 1887. (Google Art Project, Wikimedia)

When the Spanish came to Mexico, they encountered an Aztec empire with a rich musical culture. In the three centuries of colonial rule that followed, Mexico City artists gained fame for their musicianship in and beyond the walls of the city’s cathedral. This week on Harmonia, we’ll hear music from some of these famed musicians. Plus, vocal ensembles Calmus and amarcord team up for our featured release Leipziger Disputation.

PLAYLIST

Leipziger Disputation
Calmus Ensemble - and - amarcord
Carus, 2019 / B07Q26XRXL
Josquin des Prez
Tr. 4 De profundis (4:39)

Segment A:
Musique à la Cathédrale d'Oaxaca
Coro Ciudad de la Alhambra AND Ensemble Elyma / Gabriel Garrido, cond.
Phaia Music 2004 / B073V4DW9F
Manuel Zumaya
Tr. 22 Si ya a aquella nave, "Cantata al Sr. San Pedro": Del vago eminente … (03:27)
Tr. 23 Si ya a aquella nave, "Cantata al Sr. San Pedro": Aunque al sueño … (05:36)

Chanticleer: Then and There, Here and Now
Chanticleer / cond. William Fred Scott
Warner Classics 2018 / B07VYRZPZ3
Antonio de Salazar (arr. C.R. Russell)
Tr. 10 Salve regina (5:52)

Suavidad al aire: Cantatas y Arias del México Virreinal
Eugenia Ramírez (soprano) / Camerata de Aguascalientes / Horacio Franco, cond.
Quindecim Recordings 2001 /B075KYBMKT
Ignacio Jerusalem
Tr. 10 Psalm 50 Miserere mei, Deus: II. Benigne fac (6:41)

Theme Music Bed: Ensemble Alcatraz, Danse Royale, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 [ASIN: B000005J0B], Tr. 12 La Prime Estampie Royal

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed:
Musique à la Cathédrale d'Oaxaca
Coro Ciudad de la Alhambra AND Ensemble Elyma / Gabriel Garrido, cond.
Phaia Music 2004 / B073V4DW9F
Gaspar Fernandez
Excerpt of
Tr. 16 La Fiesta de Corpus: Danza a 3 y responsión a 5 (2:14)

Segment B:
Nuevo Mundo: 17th Century Music in Latin America
Ensemble Elyma / Gabriel Garrido, cond.
Glossa 2017 / B073QZNHTW
Hernando Franco
Tr. 12 In ilhuicac (2:08)
Tr. 13 Dios itlaço nantzine (2:23)

Featured Release:
Leipziger Disputation
Calmus Ensemble - and - amarcord
Carus, 2019 / B07Q26XRXL
Antoine Brumel
Tr. 2 Missa Et ecce terrae motus: Kyrie (5:46)
Tr. 13 Missa Et ecce terrae motus: Agnus Dei I (2:54)
Tr. 14 Missa Et ecce terrae motus: Agnus Dei II (3:21)
Cipriano de Rore
Tr. 11 Usquequo Domine à 5 (7:01)

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