Texas Early Music Project’s “El Mundo Nuevo” (The New World)

Posted by Alison @ KMFA  🙂

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of attending my very first Texas Early Music Project (TEMP) performance. I know, I’m way overdue, but to be fair, I thought I was getting adequate early-music fulfillment with KMFA’s wonderful Sunday show, Ancient Voices.

Well, the performance I attended proved to me that there is more than great music involved in a TEMP performance. Of course I expected the beautiful vocal pieces, some haunting, some playful. The piece “El Palomo” (called a Tonadilla, i.e., a little Tonada) seemed like it was created just for soloist Stephanie Prewitt to sing, which of course is impossible, since it dated back to the 17th century. And the rousing percussion piece, labeled simply as Zarambeques, coupled with the wholesome harp, was one of my favorites.

The overall theme of the concert (named “El Mundo Nuevo: 18th-Century Music from Latin America”) was music from  the city streets, Indian villages, and missions and cathedrals of 18th-century Peru and Bolivia. (Hah! I’ll bet you thought all early music was from the courts and monasteries of old England, didn’t you? Another presumptive stereotype dashed.) One of the most interesting aspects of the performance was the brief description of the history of the percussion instruments, including the shipping crate that became a drum, and the drumstick on the alms box that changed pitch when the hinged lid is raised and lowered. There was an early-music harp featured as well, and other instruments that I didn’t get a chance to scrutinize from the back of the audience, but they all sounded so wonderful…. Guest artist Tom Zajac shared most of the historical insights between pieces, and was such an amazing performer. And because I know no one else will say it (early music people are so polite), he’s pretty good-looking, too.  😉

I highly recommend attending the next TEMP event…. this was the season opener, and after perusing their website, they have a wonderfully diverse offering this season.

Here’s a little slideshow of my surreptitiously taken snapshots:

~ posted by Alison @ KMFA

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