Musical Delicacies

— Early Music Concert Series —

Between two worlds

Music for baroque guitar from France, Spain and South America.

Tuesday 26 July 2016 20:00 — Old Townhall (Fresco hall), Radnická 8, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic.

Cristián Gutiérrez (CL) — baroque guitar


Gaspar Sanz (1640 – 1710)
    — Spain —
Esfachata y Zarabanda
Pasacalles por la D
Anonymus (17th c.)
    — Guatemala —
La Dama por la D   (Archivo Histórico Archidiocesano)
Sebastián de Aguirre (17th c.)
    — Mexico —
Pavanas por la D   (Ms. Sebastián de Aguirre, cca. 1700)
Anonymus (18th c.)
    — Peru —
Dos minuetos   (Libro de Zifra, cca. 1800)
Santiago de Murcia (1673 – 1739)
    — Chile —
Los Impossibles
La Azuzena

About the programme

Plucked instruments were introduced into the Americas with the Spanish conquistadores and have enjoyed great popularity until today. This can be corroborated by documentary evidence. For example, according to Jania Sarno, a shipment containing 30 guitars and 13 vihuelas was sent to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1523, and as stated by Geoffrey Baker, in 1629 the Cuzco-based merchant Juan de la Cruz hired a carpenter to make 36 discantes (smaller, high-pitched guitars), 12 vihuelas and 6 harps. In 1676, the Convent La Merced in Santiago de Chile had in its possession, among other instruments, two vihuelas and one guitar. An inventory from 1691, also from Santiago, lists the vihuela and the guitar as two distinctly different instruments.

In general, the repertoire could be divided into two categories: “foreign” and Spanish. The first category consists mainly of French pieces (menuets, sarabandes and others, individual or arranged in suites) and Italian pieces (sonatas, sonata movements, etc.). They were either composed by musicians from those countries (such as Arcangelo Corelli and Francesco Corbetta) or written in their style by Spaniards.

The Spanish works consist mostly of variations over existing chord sequences derived either from passacalles (pieces in binary or ternary metre that served as an introduction to whatever vocal or instrumental music would follow) or from dances. Some authors of the period distinguished between two different types of dance: danza and baile. Danzas alluded to pieces considered to be part of high culture and were performed in a formal, controlled manner, with the main movements carried out with the feet rather than with the arms. Bailes, on the other hand, were inspired by the popular music linked to the lower classes of society and were performed with more expressive movements of arms and hands, instead of only with the feet.

Some of the surviving dances (e. g., zarambeque) have their roots among the indigenous people of the Americas or from Africa (e. g., cumbé), and they are sometimes classified as Native American or African music. However, these compositions were not necessarily popular in the strict sense of the word, but rather popular projections, in that they evoke popular forms from an aesthetic angle characteristic of high culture. Moreover, it is quite questionable whether they really were intended for dancing. In his musical treatise of 1752, Pablo Minguet wrote that he had purchased a book by Santiago de Murcia a few years earlier (most likely the Resumen de acompañar) and learned from it some “curious toccatas”, referring, in other words, to instrumental pieces intended to be played more so than danced. Whatever the case may have been, this demonstrates the variety and depth of the guitar repertoire across all layers of the society of that time.

In summary, this concert offers a panorama into the guitar music played in viceregal Spanish America, with a repertoire ranging from the popular to the most aristocratic, thus testifying to the period’s immense diversity of music.

Cristián Gutiérrez

Cristián Gutiérrez was born in Santiago, Chile, where he studied with Professor Ernesto Quezada at the Conservatory of Music, University of Chile. He was awarded a scholarship to travel to Spain for advanced studies with Juan Carlos Rivera (Sevilla) and Xavier Díaz-Latorre (Girona), and earned his M. A. at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague under guidance of Joachim Held. He has participated in courses and seminars of Early Music, notably under the direction of Hopkinson Smith.

Cristián has recorded more than 15 CDs, including the award winning anthology of colonial music A tocar, a cantar, a baylar and his solo CD Cifras Selectas de Guitarra for the label Carpe Diem, and he has appeared on live broadcasts in Chile, Spain, France, England, Holland and Portugal. He has performed as soloist and ensemble member together with notable personalities such as Monica Huggett, Bruce Dickey, Gabriel Garrido, Manfredo Kraemer, Pedro Estevan, Charles Toet, Michael Chance and Ventura Rico. He has appeared in more than 20 countries in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Korea.

He is artistic leader of the trio La Pulsata. Since 2014 he is appointed Professor at the Alberto Hurtado University in Santiago de Chile.

Thank you

The concert enjoys the auspices of the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic, Mgr. Daniel Herman. It takes place in cooperation with TIC Brno and with financial support from the Statutory City of Brno.

Media partners for the concert are Radio Proglas and Radio Petrov.

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