Today I finally attended an event with Peruvian baroque music. A mass organized by the Italian cultural institute in their chapel Santa Maria dei Fiore in Petit Thouars, Santa Beatriz, Lima. I love classical music and during the years I´ve become more critical. In Lima there is in general not much on offer, but Lima as the capital of the Spanish colonies in South America had a vice regal court and composers of baroque music. So what is more appropriate and interesting than to hear this music being performed here? Preferably in an (old) church.
There are not that many opportunities and you have to search a lot. I missed two occasions in May and November, because I discovered them after the event. But this time I was on time! At 11.00 a.m. the Misa en Octavo Tono of Peruvian composer Tomás Torrejón y Velasco (1644-1728) was going to be performed in the chapel of the Italian Institute by the Coro Lima Triumpante and Escuela Cantorum de la Universidad Catolica Sedes Sapientiae.
Although most events in the cultural institutes in Lima don’t attract enormous crowds and they also have the tendency not to start on time, I was early; 10.30. There was one woman, elegant looking, walking on the same deserted street. A fellow listener no doubt. Walking around the block to see if a door was open. But no, everything closed. Returning to the chapel, there was another woman waiting in the doorway. Pilar. We discussed Lima, music and the effort one has to do to find out about events such as this. By 11 am there were 4 people, including the elegant woman of earlier. But no movement of the doors. By 11.15 we were with 13. The discussions on the pavement became more animated, although by now you could hardly hear each other because of the traffic in Petit Thouars; noise, claxons and exhaust fumes practically blow you away.
At 11.30 the doors opened. A few workers came out, to clean the doors and sweep the pavement. Then after 15 minutes we were allowed in. Not much going on yet. Around 12 there were some important looking people walking in and out. Embassy persons? Anyway, at 12.30 the important looking people sat down as well and the priest came in. Mass was about to start! There were around 40 people, the chapel could easily contain 4 times as many.
The choirs started with the Hanacpachap Cussicuinin, the oldest polyphonic music composed in the Americas, published in 1631 and in the quechua language. Then the Misa en Octavo Tono from Torrejón y Velasco, composed in 1706. The priest by the way held the mass in part Italian, part Spanish, without a sermon, just with some thoughts. To give major attention to the music. Conductor José Quezada Macchiavello made a integral reconstruction of the text, which consists of the Kyrie, Credo, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. He added the Halleluya in Gregorian chant and included the Ave Verum of Mozart as well. This is how a mass should be! Wonderful music that lifts your soul up to the heavens. Worth the waiting of 1,5 hour.