Treasures of Cathedrals, New Spain 17th Century

Jean-Christophe Candau, Vox Cantoris

Original Recording Format: DSD 128
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Under European influence, the New Spain (Mexico) developed a rich musical tradition in the Baroque period.

After recording the repertoire of the Convent of Incarnation in Mexico City, the Vox Cantoris ensemble reveals the treasures of polyphonies that were sung by the choir of the Mexico City Cathedral for the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, which combines the hieratic Iberic style with the New World fervor.

Vox Cantoris
Jean-Christophe Candau, Director



Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Deus in adjutorium
Ave Maris Stella
Magnificat octavi toni
Kyrie, Missa de beata Virgine
Gloria, Missa de beata Virgine
Alleluia Assumpta est Maria
Credo, Missa de beata Virgine
Sanctus, Missa de beata Virgine
Agnus Dei, Missa de beata Virgine

Total time: 00:51:58

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Original Recording Format

Release DateAugust 13, 2021

Press reviews

Res Musica

Between European tradition and other discourses aroused by New Spain, Vox Cantoris takes us to the very heart of this extraordinary melting pot that was the musical conquest of the future Mexico. The treasures of the Cathedral of Mexico show the importance of these highly spiritual texts.

Jean-Christophe Candau and his wonderful vocal phalanx of the Vox Cantoris ensemble lead us once again to new lands to discover. In 2015, during a trip to Mexico, he discovered the acoustic beauties of the Cathedral of Mexico City as well as that of Puebla. These places with vast proportions bring an understanding in the setting in space of the song, which by a happy coincidence offers the acoustics of the church of La Réole in Gironde, where resides Vox Cantoris and where the present production was recorded. An unprecedented opportunity to rediscover the spatialization necessary for these learned polyphonies such as the musicians of New Spain practiced them at the end of the Renaissance and at the beginning of the 17th century.

The program, focused on the Marian feast of August 15, allows us to hear a piece by Francisco Guerrero, one of the great Spanish polyphonists alongside Morales and Victoria. Chapel master at Seville Cathedral and subsequently in Jaén, this composer remains linked to the New World since a Magnificat of his composition has been found in Lima (Peru). The hymn of the Assumption Ave Maris Stella is an outstanding example of Marian music, designed for the large processions that accompanied the feast of Mary. Guerrero emphasizes the homophonic melody of the hymn which he surrounds with subordinate voices, like a case.

Hernando Franco learned his art in the choir of the cathedral of Segovia in the middle of the 16th century before joining the New World in Guatemala and then in Mexico. The Magnificat of the eighth tone, resulting from a complete cycle, honors the Blessed Virgin. It was sung during Vespers in the cathedral of Mexico City, where Hernando Franco was chapel master at the end of his life, moments when vocal and instrumental music shone in a sumptuous period. This work harmoniously introduced the Missa De Beata Virgine of Duarte Lobo, based on plainsong Gregorian Mass Cum Jubilocharacteristic of Marian Masses. Such a composition is a testament to the musical abilities of Lobo, whose music was widely distributed by numerous copies from the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City, spreading throughout Latin America.

Vox Cantoris approaches these pieces in a luminous way under the learned and inspired direction of Jean-Christophe Candau. The voice of the whole is deep and carried by a generous acoustics captured by an exceptional sound recording. We understand the work of study and understanding of such a repertoire, particular and imbued with the colors of the New World, softening the aridity of the ancient Iberian polyphony. We will let ourselves be seduced by these disturbing dialogues, capable of touching us deeply.


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