Baroque sunshine in the Abbey

The early spring sunshine may have disappeared, but we’re hoping to bring a little sun back to Sherborne in our next concert! Spain meets South America on 16 March, in our programme of Latin American Baroque music, accompanied by top period ensemble In Echo.

The choir and band will be exploring the rich and colourful music of seventeenth century Central America, where traditional European musical culture meets South American culture and African dance to create a unique fusion which is infectious, colourful and frequently foot-tapping!

The main item in the programme is an exuberant mass setting for double choir by the seventeenth century Spanish composer Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, who spent most of his working life in Mexico. The Mass is a wonderful combination of the musical style of his Spanish roots and the traditional colours and rhythms of Central America. The programme also includes a gentle lullaby in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, and a setting of the Magnificat by Francisco López Capillas, the first Creole composer of significance. The choir and band really get to let their hair down however in some lively dances: a guaracha, a forerunner of the Salsa, and a villancico, with rhumba style rhythms.

A huge amount of music was created in Central America following the Spanish conquests, but most has remained largely undiscovered until quite recently. Much of the music in the choir’s programme has become popular via Ex Cathedra’s recordings, which are regularly aired on Classic FM and Radio 3.

Formed by international cornetto player Gawain Glenton, who lives in Sherborne, In Echo is a period ensemble that explores the rich repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries, specialising in Renaissance and Baroque music. Its debut CD, Music in a Cold Climate: Sounds of Hansa Europe, was released last year and received rave reviews, as well as frequent airtime on Radio 3. In this concert, the instruments include cornetto, sackbut, lute, guitar and harp – as well as a bit of percussion provided by the choir!

“It’s almost like eavesdropping on these composers and travelling musicians sitting down together for a jam session… There’s such flexibility and freedom in the playing it was almost improvisatory, and because they’ve chosen their instrumentation so carefully, each strand is really to the fore…”

— Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 ‘Record Review’ February 2018

Get your tickets now! On sale at Sherborne Tourist Information Centre, 01935 815341, priced £5-£20, under 18s free of charge.