Critic’s Choice

By David Fleshler

Miguel Cabrera (attrib): “Folding Screen with Fête Galante and Musicians,” c. 1760.

Spanish and Portuguese colonists brought horses, sugarcane, Christianity and smallpox to the Americas. They also brought music, including vocal works forged in the intensely Catholic culture of the Iberian Peninsula.

The choral legacy of Latin America will be the focus of the next series of concerts by the choir Seraphic Fire, led by founder and artistic director Patrick Dupré Quigley. The older classical music of Latin America, much of it composed while Bach, Haydn and Beethoven were busy in Europe, remains unfamiliar to many listeners, although early music groups have been rediscovering it.

But while the names of the composers may be new to many listeners, much of the music will sound familiar in style, works of haunting devotion and religious ecstasy composed to be sung in candle-lit churches. There will also be up-tempo secular works, as well as compositions inspired by a blending of Latin and indigenous music.

The program will include music of the 16th century Portuguese composer Gaspar Fernandes and the 17th-century Spaniard Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco Sánchez, as well as the Cuban Esteban Salas y Castro and others. Although there will be some contemporary music, the focus will be firmly on the colonial era.

A pre-concert conversation will be held one hour before each performance.

Concerts will be 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center, Miami; 7:30 p.m. Friday at First United Methodist Church in Coral Gables; 7:30 p.m. Saturday at All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale; and 4 p.m. Sunday at Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church in Naples.


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Thu Apr 11, 2019
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