Baroque Music in the Jesuit Reducciones (Settlements) The study of the music in the South American archives has revolutionized our knowledge of the musical culture in the urban and missionary centres between the XVI and XVIII Centuries in the Americas. European, native South American and Creole (Spaniards born in South America) composers and musicians created a uniquely South American Renaissance and Baroque repertoire, comparable in its magnitude and originality to the musical innovations of the outstanding European musical centres of that time. To date two important collections of South American missionary music have been preserved. The first can be found in Concepcin, Bolivia, at the Library of the Vicariato Apostlico de Nuflo de Chvez.
This collection comes from the missionary churches of San Rafael and Santa Ana. The other, discovered and organised more recently, belongs to the collection of music manuscripts of the former Jesuit Mission of the Moxos Indians, in Bolivia. Copies of the latter were still being produced up to the 1990s. Several vocal works with accompaniment can be found in both collections, as well as a truly exceptional group of instrumental pieces within the Latin American repertoire, which usually consists only of a vocal and choral repertoire and not an instrumental one.
Although a big part of the composition is of Indian authorship (with texts in native languages: Chiquitana, Baure, Moxa, Canichana, Guarani), the manuscripts include also six Masses of Giovanni Battista Bassani (1657-1716), two motets by Johann Joseph Ignaz Brentner (1689-1720) and 14 compositions by Domenico Zipolli (1688-1726), which have been used as models for the music teaching which was disseminated at the missions. Its value is unique and is the only means of clarifying our knowledge of the musical culture of the ancient missions in the Americas……
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