Hispanic Heritage Series
Saturday, December 5, 2015, 7:30 PM
Cantadas de Navidad
Pre-concert talk at 6:45 PM
Christ Church Cathedral,
1117 Texas Ave., 77002
Don’t miss this marvelous ensemble’s anticipated return to the Houston Early Music stage with a joyous Christmas program featuring the music of Spain and the New World. Works by Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, Santiago de Murcia, Gaspar Sanz and Ignacio Jerusalem are highlighted by vocals, violins, plucked instruments and percussion.The trio will be joined by soprano Nell Snaidas, countertenor Jose Lemos and percussionist Danny Mallon.
On the program are cantadas and villancicos, Christmas songs that were highly favored by Latin American composers of the baroque era. One of these composers, Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, wrote many vernacular villancicos in a popular vein, designed to attract crowds of people to the cathedral in Puebla, Mexico, where he was assistant choirmaster in the early 1600s.
Puebla was the musical center of Mexico during this time, and several other composers represented on the program served as choirmasters there. These include Juan García de Zéspedes, a possibly native-born singer who began his career as a choirboy at Puebla Cathedral, and Antonio de Salazar, who, according to records, faced stiff competition in his bid for the top post.
One piece on the program sets a hymn in the native Quechuan language of Peru to a tune that some scholars speculate may have been written by an anonymous indigenous composer because of its blend of European harmonies with elements that sound Native American.
There also will be music by Sebastián Durón, who never traveled to the New World but nevertheless exerted a strong influence on the villancicos written there. Additional composers on the program include Santiago de Murcia, Gaspar Sanz, Manuel deSumaya and many others.