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Mexican Baroque

Notes & Reviews:

In 17th and 18th century New England, transplanted Englishmen like Daniel Read, Abraham Wood, and especially William Billings were composing beautiful but rough-hewn and distinctly American vocal music for use in what were called "singing schools." Far to the west and south, in what was then called New Spain and would later be called Mexico, natives and transplanted Spaniards were composing liturgical music of a richness and complexity that was worthy of the greatest cathedrals of Europe -- and teaching their native converts to do the same. This disc showcases the works of two of 18th century Mexico's finest composers: the Mexican-born Manuel de Zumaya and the transplanted European Ignacio de Jerusalem. The latter is represented by a polychoral Mass in D Minor, a responsory, and a gorgeous Dixit Dominus setting written in six sections; from the former listeners have a setting of Jeremiah's lamentations, a breathtakingly complex solfeggio composition titled Sol-fa de Pedro, and the polychoral Celebren, Publiquen. Accompanied by an ad hoc period instrument ensemble dubbed the Chanticleer Sinfonia for this album, Chanticleer does its usual job of effortlessly and thrillingly bringing this music to vivid life, and the recorded sound could hardly be brighter and richer. This is one of Chanticleer's finest and most satisfying albums. ~ Rick Anderson



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