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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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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”:


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

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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