La Fontegara at Americas Society, April 16, 2010

Ernest Barteldes By

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La Fontegara
Americas Society
April 16, 2010
New York, NY

According to the program notes at Americas Society, music was an important part of colonial-era Mexico, where Spanish-born composers traveled to during the 17th and 18th Centuries to write music for recitals, religious services and other events.

Sadly, few musical documents survive from that era, but those that do give testament of how composers (some unknown) blended folk and classical elements into their compositions, which made for great creative opportunities. Selections from some of these were presented by Mexico-based La Fontegara trio (Maria Diez-Canedo: recorder and baroque flute; Eunice Padilla: harpsichord; Eloy Cruz: baroque guitar), who specialize on performing music from historical archives.

The program began with a selection of anonymous sonatas attributed to Leonardo Leo. Starting off with a downtempo movement centered on the flute, the piece quickly evolved into a very touching sequence of notes with a clear devotional feel. The piece was followed by "Quaderno de Dona Guadalupe Mayner," a short piece composed for solo harpsichord. Ms. Padilla approached the tune with utmost grace even when there was a flurry of notes halfway through the piece.

One of the highlights of the first part of the program came with "Four Dances," whose movements resembled Andina music. The second movement featured Cruz's first solo part, which gave the audience the opportunity to hear the instrument, which had been mostly obscured by the harpsichord (it was a completely acoustic performance with no individual microphones)

After the intermission, the trio presented more work attributed to Leonardo Leo, which had more of a classical feel. The program closed with "Sonata in a minor for flute and continuo," a highly dramatic piece in three movements.

Americas Society's Music of The Americas has been instrumental in bringing awareness to music that is not usually performed Stateside. Their programs—presented free of charge—are great opportunities for audiences to discover music that they might not have the chance to hear elsewhere.

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