The title of this exciting issue might be misleading as the musical content has nothing to do with the sacred; on the contrary in fact, it is a mouth-watering recipe of secular sounds that find their origins in the musical heritage of two continents.
When the 'Conquistadores' from Spain and Portugal started to invade the countries of the 'New World', the social and cultural wheel of the latter began to turn bit by bit and by the 17th century, much that was Hispanic had merged itself into the tradition of the 'Indios'.
The Baroque style proved an ideal medium to express the inner sentiments and emotions of the many peoples of Latin America, and this phenomenon of the Iberian-American Baroque still hides many secrets to this day.
This album sets out to unravel some of these by projecting such seemingly unrelated elements as dance (feast) and lament (devotion), women and religion. The programme includes 20 tracks, mostly by Spanish composers, but the anonymous pieces from the same Spain, Bolivia and Peru are, to say the least, intriguing.
The music for the most part is relaxing and sedate, so one should be more inclined towards a spirit of discovery rather than anticipating a feast. The Musica Ficta is a Colombian ensemble which came together in 1988, so as expected; their performances are not only first rate but also in complete empathy with this very special musical domain.
The delicate sound quality coupled with some top-notch annotations make this disc a top proposition, particularly for those who have an appetite for the unusual.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech