Saturday 22nd May 2021
El Parnaso Hyspano
EARLY MUSIC FROM THE NEW WORLD
St John The Baptist Church
EL PARNASO HYSPANO
Hispanic Early Music Ensemble: Bringing Ancient Music to the New World
Kate Smith (soprano)
Verónica Chacón (alto)
Rafael Montero (tenor, and founder)
John Sloboda (bass)
James Akers (theorbo / guitar)
ABOUT THE CONCERT
The conquest of Latin America was characterised by ambition, boldness, cruelty and related to the rare metals discovered there, particularly silver and gold. The story of Latin America was marked by the ambitions of the European kings, who wanted the silver and gold for their own goals and purpose. But what they didn't know is that real gold and silver was the magnificent baroque music that was born from the mixing of indigenous music with the European styles and instruments. Later the African slaves brought their rhythm and enriched this music, which first came from Spain to America and then back to Spain with these new influences.
The first written works were religious hymns, for the native Americans, incorporating elements of symbolism from both Christian and ancient indigenous religions in a sort of religious syncretism. This programme contains music of Christmas and Passiontide, the most important religious celebrations but with the influence and the characteristic colour of native traditions. The dance is a very special component of the native American cultures, which connected those living on earth with the Gods living in the heavens. One of these dances, the Chacona, was born in the jungles of South America, and came back to Europe with its sensual movements to and became the queen of the dances, that even Monteverdi, Lully, and Bach adapted in in their own style.
ABOUT EL PARNASO HYSPANO
EL PARNASO HYSPANO is an international chamber group of singers and instrumentalists dedicated to the performance of early Hispanic music, ranging from the medieval to the baroque and early classical. Our repertoire encompasses Spain and Latin America, with a specialism in the music of “Golden Age” [El Siglo de Oro 1500-1700] when the Spanish empire was at its height. In this time there was a wealth of musical creativity in the major cultural and religious centres, particularly in what afterwards became Bolivia and Peru, the richest viceroyalties of South America. Much of this music is only now being recently rediscovered and published for contemporary performance, and the group showcases the richness of the Hispanic musical legacy of the Americas. They help to make known music written in native American languages, such as Quechua, Guarani, Nahuatl and Mochica, an extinct language.
El Parnaso Hyspano is the artistic vision of its founder Rafael Montero, begun in Cologne in 2016, and since 2020 involving professional musicians based in London, but with international heritage, bringing not only musical but cultural enrichment, contributing to a multicultural dialogue.
The group’s London debut was in December 2020, performing Latin American Baroque Christmas Music, including the African-inspired Negrillas, blending voices with instrumenta and percussion.