A Mexican Organ Odyssey #9840

With organologist and restorer Susan Tattershall, we explore the musical legacy of the Spanish conquest of the New World, visiting historic instruments in the regions of Oaxaca, Tlaxcala and Mexico City. Less than a century after the first expedition of Christopher Columbus, the art of organbuilding, taught by Spanish monks and practiced, to large extent, by indigenous artisans, was firmly established on the North American continent. Our program travels the countryside, revelling in the ‘sights and sounds’ of a remarkable culture, and listening to instruments built in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, some small enough to stand on a card table, others as grand as the finest cathedral organs of Old Spain. Performances feature Jose Suarez of the Mexico City Conservatory, and Roberto Oropeza. All recordings were made on location and generally in compromised circumstances, and in most cases the organs were pumped by hand. Sites and musical selections include:

GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI: Toccata, Canzona, & Verset. BALDASSARE GALUPPI: Sonata Number 1 (18th century anonymous/Templo Parroquial Santa Magdalena, La Magdalena Tlaltelulco, Tlaxcala, México)

J.S. BACH: Fughetta on Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland. JOHANN PACHELBEL: Magnificat Verse Number 1. MIGUEL BERNAL JIMENEZ: Taner de Fantasie (1734 Jose Nasarre/Órgano del Evangelio, Catedral Metropolitana, Ciudad de México, Distrito Federal, México) and (1734 Jose Nasarre/Órgano del Evangelio, Catedral Metropolitana, Ciudad de México, Distrito Federal, México)

ANONYMOUS: Cancion para corneta con e echo. JUAN CABANILLES: Passacales. GIOVAN BATTISTA CERVELLINI: Sonata Pastorale (1830 Zeferino Castro/San Pablo, Apetatitlán de Antonio Carvajal, Tlaxcala, México)

BALDASSARE GALUPPI: Sonata Allegro in G (18th century anonymous/Santuario, Huamantla, Tlaxcala, México)

GIOVAN BATTISTA CERVELLINI: Allegretto. BALDASSARE GALUPPI: Sonata Number 1. JUAN CABANILLES: Variations on an Italian Corrente (1690 anonymous/Catedral Ciudad de Oaxaca, Oaxaca, México)

While all of this music was recorded specifically for this broadcast, several excellent compact discs of Mexican instruments, including some of those above, are available through the Organ Historical Society.


This program was originally issued as #9438 in September 1994.