Galant Cathedral Music from New Spain

Style Galante was fashionable in the mid-1700s. It formed a bridge between the Baroque and Classical Eras. And in New Spain, music was being written and performed in that oh-so-current style.

New Spain was the collective name for Spain’s possessions in the New World. It included modern-day Mexico, Cuba, the American Southwest, and Central America. Mexico City and Veracruz were thriving cities, with sophisticated cultural life.

Italian composers Santiago Billoni and Ignacio de Jerusalem emigrated to New Spain. David Pérez (Lisbon) and Luis Misón (Madrid) remained in Europe. But their music was well-known and often performed in New Spain.

I think location makes a difference. There’s something that the Billoni and Jerusalem compositions have that the others don’t. Indigenous music and culture weren’t far below the surface. The Italian composers didn’t adopt folk tunes into their music. But there’s a rhythm pulse in their works that seems distinctively LatinX.

The quality of the compositions is on par with that of the Mannheim School. The melodies are all well-formed and easy to follow (a hallmark of the style). And they’re all quite tuneful.

The performances by the Camerata Antonio Soler are generally good. And the vocal soloists also do a credible job. All in all, this release succeeds in its intent. And that is to demonstrate just how rich and vibrant the music scene was in New Spain.

Galant Cathedral Music from New Spain
Camerata Antonio Soler; Javier José Mendoza, conductor
Orchid Classics ORC100208

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