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Baroque Music From Latin America - New World Symphonies


Release Date: 10/12/2010 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 30030   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  AnonymousJuan Gutierrez de PadillaGaspar FernandesJuan de Araujo,   ... 
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque OrchestraEx Cathedra Chamber Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is arguably the most original CD of the year, and it's generated a huge number of enquiries from Classic FM listeners. Jeffrey Skidmore and Ex Cathedra have tapped a rich seam of baroque choral music ... Do not be put off by the unfamiliarity of the composers; this is wonderful music' (John Brunning, Classic FM Magazine)

'This is one of the most eye-opening CDs - or should I say ear-opening - that I have heard this year. What a magical concoction of sounds - and what brilliant playing!' (Henry Kelly, Classic FM)

'Hypnotically good' (Simon Bates, Classic FM)

'The expressive range is astonishing ... a delight to commend' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This wonderfully colourful collection
Read more puts the vivid vocal qualities of Jeffrey Skidmore's virtuoso choir Ex Cathedra into the foreground' (Gramophone)

'sumptuously realised with a varied - but historically appropriate - panoply of voices and instruments ... a richly rewarding CD ... I have been driving around with it in my car and my 11-year old son now prefers it to David Bowie ... Thoroughly recommended' (Gramophone)

'Jeffrey Skidmore unearths some scintillating examples of the Old World meeting the New, with Renaissance polyphony underpinned by African-Latin drums. The result is only a few beats removed from modern examples of Catholic worship. A fascinating disc' (The Independent)

'Ex Cathedra has unearthed some magnificent music here; there are plenty of fascinating discoveries, performed with great feeling and panache, and with potent seasoning from the period instruments. The disc has the markings of a bestseller, and certainly deserves to be' (Daily Telegraph)

'terrific music, terrific singing' (The Times)

'stunning ... choral music of the most vibrant quality imaginable, performed by Ex Cathedra with equally vigorous zeal ... the whole background is fascinatingly documented in Skidmore's own invaluable insert-note ... all vocalists display the group's customary virtuosity in a range of languages ... unmissable' (Birmingham Post)

'this really is an irresistible recording, offering a wealth of styles and colours and plenty of South American sunshine. Buy it and discover the New World for yourself' (International Record Review)

'Ex Cathedra and Jeffrey Skidmore are first-rate ambassadors for this music ... the overall sound is beautiful and the performance, from instrumentalists and singers, has great conviction and energy ... An album of unexpectedly wicked delight' (BBCi)

'fascinatingly varied in idiom and influence, and Skidmore has unearthed some real gems' (Choir and Organ)

'this recording is highly recommended ... These are polished, emotionally engaged performances, brightly recorded, of fascinating, exciting repertoire' (Early Music Today)

'This is one of the most exciting releases I've seen in awhile ... The performance is flawless, with a wide range of emotional expression; the sound is excellent' (American Record Guide)

'extremely rewarding, bringing yet further evidence of the richness of Latin American Baroque music ... the performances are very accomplished indeed ... splendid disc' (Fanfare, USA)

'immaculately performed ... fascinating' (The Guardian)

FULL REVIEW

Ex Cathedra’s second disc for Hyperion departs far from the Delalande motets on which I interviewed director Jeffrey Skidmore in Fanfare 26:4, featuring as it does a wide range of sacred music from Latin America stretching from the 16th to the 18th centuries. In one sense, it forms a complement to Andrew Lawrence-King’s Missa Mexicana (reviewed in 26:2). The two discs share in common the exuberant Christmas villancico “Convidando esta la noche” and Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla’s Missa Ego flos campi, a fascinating work that as I explained in the review of the earlier disc intriguingly juxtaposes polyphony with more rhythmic homophonic sections introducing elements of popular Mexican music. I also suggested that since Padilla is known to have had large choral forces at his disposal at Puebla Cathedral, where he was maestro di capilla from 1629, the work would benefit from a performance with choral forces rather than Lawrence-King’s one-per-part approach, effective though it is in many ways. That is certainly born out by the new disc, where Padilla’s flowing polyphony attains an impressive sonority not possible with minimalist forces. Thus the highly effective broadening of tempo at a passage like “et incarnatus” (Credo) makes a striking impression of spaciousness not possible in the earlier recording, and there are many other instances where full choral forces and the employment of sackbuts and cornets reinforce the richness of Skidmore’s marginally slower-paced version.

Otherwise, there is little in common between the discs, Missa mexicana preserving a common theme by interspersing the movements of the Mass with a splendidly varied selection of villancicos. In contrast, Skidmore provides only two other pieces of overtly popular origin, the exquisite lullaby Xicochi conetzintle by Gaspar Fernandez (1570–1629), who was Padilla’s predecessor at Puebla, and Los coflades de la estleya by Juan de Araujo. Born in Spain in 1648, Aruajo emigrated at an early age to Lima, where at the age of twenty-two he was appointed maestro di capilla at the Cathedral. His Los coflades de la estleya is notable for the conflation of Hispanic features with rhythmic elements that stem from West Africa, while his setting of the famous hymn Ut queant laxis also taps less obviously into the popular idiom. The inclusion of Alonso Lobo’s well-known Versa est in lectum in this company initially raises eyebrows, but it was apparently familiar in Latin America, there being a copy in the library of Puebla Cathedral. It is, in any event, done here in such mesmerizing fashion, with an ethereally lovely high soprano line, that the performance provides strong competition to my treasured Westminster Cathedral recording (CDA 66168).

One always hopes that going on voyages of exploration such as this disc provides will reveal something special and in this respect the present disc has come up with a revelation in the shape of two movements from Domenico Zipoli’s Missa San Ignacio. Zipoli, the only Italian-born composer in this Hispanic company, was born in Tuscany in 1688, and subsequently studied with Alessandro Scarlatti in Naples. In 1716, he joined the Jesuits, leaving with them for Paraguay the following year. His Mass, which is scored for three soloists (SAT), and choir with two violins and continuo, takes its name from Ignatious Loyala, the founder of the Jesuit movement. While the Kyrie and Gloria recorded here encompass a variety of moods and style, the dominant impression they leave is one of an infectious verve. The homophonic opening of Kyrie I, for example, is succeeded by a passage of joyous imitative polyphony, while the equally ebullient opening pages of the Gloria broaden dramatically at “et in terra,” the special emphasis being reserved for the word “pax” leaving one to wonder if the Mass was composed for a specific occasion. “Laudamus” brings a return to the vitality that underscores the work; the “Cum sancto” fugue bespeaks a composer with an impressive grasp of counterpoint. Both sections are indeed so full of character and so well performed that one wishes that the whole Mass had been included. For that, you have to turn to a K617 recording under the direction of Gabriel Garrido, which appears to be available on two separate numbers, K617025 and K617070. Another work that particularly catches the ear is the Salve Regina by Hernando Franco (1532–1585), the earliest composer represented here and, according to Skidmore’s helpful notes, probably the first notable composer to make the move across the Atlantic. Franco sets the familiar text in plainchant alternating with fine contrapuntal writing. The solo quartet at “misericordis oculus,” is particularly affecting, while the potent final line is skillfully worked out in strongly delineated counterpoint.

The whole program is, in fact, extremely rewarding, bringing yet further evidence of the richness of Latin American Baroque music, an area still to be explored in depth. As intimated at various points in the foregoing, the performances are very accomplished indeed. The choral singing is disciplined, full-bodied, and intensely alive, betraying none of the English “politeness” that would detract from a project such as this, while the instrumental contribution is of the highest standard. On the latter subject, this seems a good place to pay tribute to violinist Michaela Comberti, who died in March this year. One of the doyens of the English early music revival, her refined and technically expert playing graced innumerable concerts and many a disc, and she led Ex Cathedra’s orchestra for some 15 years. This splendid disc, which features her playing the first violin part, is justifiably dedicated to her.

-- Brian Robins, FANFARE [9/2003]
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Works on This Recording

1. Hanaq pachap kusikuyin by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1631; Peru 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2. Missa "Ego flos campi": Kyrie by Juan Gutierrez de Padilla
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Chamber Choir,  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Mexico 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
3. Missa "Ego flos campi": Gloria by Juan Gutierrez de Padilla
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Chamber Choir,  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Mexico 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
4. Xicochi xicochi conetzintle by Gaspar Fernandes
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1609-1620; Mexico 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
5. Missa "Ego flos campi": Credo by Juan Gutierrez de Padilla
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Mexico 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 20 Secs. 
6. Los coflades de la estleya by Juan de Araujo
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs. 
7. Missa "Ego flos campi": Sanctus by Juan Gutierrez de Padilla
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Mexico 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 
8. Versa est in luctum by Alonso Lobo
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1598; Spain 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 26 Secs. 
9. Missa "Ego flos campi": Agnus Dei by Juan Gutierrez de Padilla
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Mexico 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 38 Secs. 
10. Salve Regina by Hernando Franco
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Mexico 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 12 Minutes 25 Secs. 
11. Qhapaq eterno Dios by Anonymous
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1598; Peru 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 23 Secs. 
12. Ut queant laxis by Juan de Araujo
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Peru 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 9 Secs. 
13. Missa San Ignacio: Kyrie by Domenico Zipoli
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Spain 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
14. Missa San Ignacio: Gloria by Domenico Zipoli
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: Spain 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 10 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
15. Convidando está la noche by Juan Garcia de Zéspedes
Conductor:  Jeffrey Skidmore
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ex Cathedra Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Mexico 
Date of Recording: 10/2002 
Venue:  All Saint's Church, Tooting, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Xicochi xicochi conetzintle (Fernandes)
Missa San Ignacio (Zipoli): Kyrie

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