Farallon Recorder Quartet presents
Call the Rain and Make the Crops Grow
Saturday, October 26, 2013
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church
1501 Washington, Albany.
$20, $15 for students, seniors, and SFEMS members.
510-559-4670 for reservations, or email email@example.com.
The Farallon Recorder Quartet will present a program of music by Spanish and New World composers this month, supported by a grant from the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music. Claudia Gantivar, recorder virtuosa from Colombia, and Adam Cockerham, vihuela, join Letitia Berlin, Frances Blaker and Louise Carslake for this weekend of special concerts.
The introduction of the European recorder to Latin America probably occurred in the early days of the Spanish colonial era. Spanish cathedral music during the second half of the 16th century commonly included wind instruments, such as recorders, shawms, cornetts and sackbuts, and this practice was carried to the Andes. The Indians were encouraged to master polyphony with the use of these instruments, as depicted in chronicles of the day, which show Andean church musicians playing recorders. Records tell of flautas (recorders) being used alongside shawms and trumpets in wedding and baptism celebrations. In his Comentarios Reales de los Incas (1609, 1617), the great Spanish-Inca chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega wrote that there were many Indians expert in playing musical instruments (see “The Llama’s Flute: Musical Misunderstandings in the Andes,” Early Music, August, 1996).
Henry Stobart, Reader in Music/Ethnomusicology in the Music Department of Royal Holloway, University of London, writes about the use of duct flutes and notch flutes in the Andes as aids to farming. Duct flutes (direct-blown flutes, such as the recorder and the indigenous tarka and moseño) are used to call for rain in the summer months, while notch flutes (such as the native quena), which require an embouchure, are used in the dry winter months to “call the frost and wind.”
Farallon’s October program begins with works from two 14th-century codices from northern Spain: the late 14th-c. manuscript known as the Llibre Vermell and an early 14th-c. manuscript, the Codex Las Huelgas. The Llibre Vermell (Red Book) contains songs that were written for the pilgrims who had traveled to the church of the Blessed Mary of Montserrat near Barcelona in Catalunya. The Codex Las Huelgas originated from the Cistercian convent of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas in Burgos, Castile, where it remains today. The convent had a choir of 100 women at one point in the 13th century, so it is likely that this choir sang the polyphonic works in the manuscript.
We explore the influence of the Spanish colonizers of the New World with works from the Oaxaca Cathedral manuscript, the Convento del Carmen Codex from Mexico City, the Bogota Cathedral, and the Codex Trujillo del Peru.
Spain’s great contributions to Renaissance polyphony, both sacred and secular, are represented by Diego Ortiz, Hernando de Cabezón, Juan Vásquez, composers from the court of Naples, and Mateo Flecha the elder. Flecha’s ensalada La Bomba, is a humorous and rousing tale of a shipwreck, with dramatic cries for help and pleas for mercy made vivid by the composer’s use of rhythm and harmony. We include movements of the Misa La Bomba by Pedro Bermúdez, a native of Spain who spent the last ten years of life in colonial Latin America, working in what are now Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico.