The Rose Ensemble

Portraits of Peru, 1785

Illustration from the Trujillo del PerĂº Codex

Exotic Folksongs and Dances from Trujillo

November 2013

with special guests, Tom Zajac, Paula Fagerberg, Patricia Halverson, Holly Piccoli, Danny Mallon, Scott Pauley, Charles Weaver

Flora, fauna, and folk music mingle throughout this program of popular song and dance from late 18th-century Peru, frozen in the amber of an unlikely source, the Trujillo del Perú Codex. This collection of watercolor paintings was compiled by the local bishop for Spanish King Carlos IV, imaginatively depicting the plants, animals, people,and archeological monuments of this diverse region in northern Peru.

Peruvian and Bolivian music with Indian and African influences—party songs, love songs, and rhythmic sacred hymns—is presented by Rose Ensemble singers, a Baroque band, and an impressive collection of South American percussion instruments. The melodies are memorable, the harmonies catchy, the rhythms syncopated…all setting the stage for what would become present-day, Latin-American popular music!

Bonus: This unique performance features projections of the manuscript illustrations and supertitle translations.

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DateTicketsLocation
Thu Nov. 14, 2013
7:30pm
$25 in advance
$27 at door
$10 student at door (with ID)
Weber Music Hall, University of Minnesota - Duluth
1151 University Drive
Duluth, MN 
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Fri Nov. 15, 2013
8:00pm
$25 in advance
$27 at door
$10 student at door (with ID)
Augsburg College, Hoversten Chapel*
625 22nd Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 
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7:00pm Pre-Concert Presentation

*Parking permits for Augsburg College lots will be mailed to ticketholders by Nov. 12. For more information, contact the Rose Ensemble office.

Sat Nov. 16, 2013
8:00pm
$25 in advance
$27 at door
$10 student at door (with ID)
Augsburg College, Hoversten Chapel*
625 22nd Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 
Bring a Friend

Buy Tickets

 

7:00pm Pre-Concert Presentation

*Parking permits for Augsburg College lots will be mailed to ticketholders by Nov. 12. For more information, contact the Rose Ensemble office.

Rose Ensemble shines bright in 'Portraits of Peru'

by WIlliam Randall Beard

Concert presented a moment in history worth hearing.

The Rose Ensemble has a history of introducing audiences to important, little-known music. The St. Paul-based group has continued that tradition with “Portraits of Peru, 1785,” heard Friday night at the Hoversten Chapel at Augsburg College. The program is based on the “Trujillo de Perú Codex.”

This is a manuscript compiled by the Bishop of Trujillo to present to an emissary of the Spanish king, Charles IV, extolling what Peru had to offer. It contains musical manuscripts, as well as portraits of local residents and fantastical images of flora and fauna. It is a perfectly preserved moment in history.

Much of the music sounded very familiar, growing out of the Spanish Baroque. But with the influences from the African and indigenous populations, it sparked the ear with new sounds.

An ensemble of Baroque strings, winds and percussion joined the five voices, adding a historical patina to the performance. Instrumental pieces interspersed throughout the program showed off the virtuosity of the guest performers.

The longest, most complex works were sacred music from the La Plata Cathedral. These were pieces rich in Baroque counterpoint, brought powerfully to life by the vocalists.

In addition, there were boisterous Christmas carols, Bolivian songs from the missions sung in an indigenous language, and a slave song. There were also even earlier pieces, from the late 17th century, by Roque Jacinto de Chavarria, a composer worth investigating.

A bawdy sailor song played for laughs was amplified by the projection of illustrations from the Codex of the kind of characters involved. There was a mournful folk song of unrequited love, with projections adding to the reality of the emotion.

The texts themselves presented a unique expression of Christianity. There was a buoyant party song that celebrated the justice brought by the birth of Christ. One of the many prayers to Mary brought ancient Incan deities into the worship.

Guest director and early winds player and percussionist Tom Zajac put together a consistently entertaining program, varying the styles of music and using changing combinations of singers and instrumentalists. His simple staging heightened the effect of the music, especially the comedy.

This is music that deserves to be heard. And it was one of the Rose Ensemble’s most exciting and engaging programs.

William Randall Beard writes about music.

 

 

 

 

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