“Colonial Vistas”

Saturday – April 14, 2018

Academic Panel: “Colonial Vistas”


2:00 p.m. – UO Collier House


“The Sound of Silence: Performance Practice on “Forgotten” Pipe Organs in Peru”

Natascha Reich

One of the most underrepresented topics in historical organology today are colonial pipe organs in Peru. Very little is known not only about their technical features and construction, but also about the traditions, practices, and music that were associated with these instruments. Primary sources are scarce and inconclusive, and surviving instruments are not functional anymore.

In this paper, I suggest a comparative approach¸ in an attempt to start filling the existing gap in present-day scholarship. I examine relevant (European-)Spanish organ music from the seventeenth century and its performance practice, and compare it to the technical and musical properties of the Peruvian instruments that I inspected during my recent fieldwork in Peru. The music I use for this study are two organ pieces by Francisco Correa de Arauxo, who can be regarded as one of the first Baroque composers of the Iberian Peninsula. Relevant primary sources include Correa de Arauxo’s “Facultad Organica” and Bermudo’s “Declaración.” My research on the one hand shows that the technical properties of Peruvian Baroque organs would have allowed for a performance of Spanish Baroque organ repertoire. On the other hand, it demonstrates that there was probably a significant amount of improvisatory practices involved.

Natascha Reich studied organ and harpsichord in Austria and in the Netherlands, and graduated in 2006 with an M.A. from the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria. Since 1999, Natascha has given solo performances in most parts of Europe, in Asia, and in the Americas. Natascha’s fields of interest are historical performance practice, ethnomusicology, and the intersection of science and music. She is currently enrolled in the University of Oregon’s PhD program for musicology, focusing her research on historical pipe organs in Peru. For more information see: www.nataschareich.com.


“Early Music in Mexico and the Overwhelming Success of a Resurging Patrimony”

Mélodie Michel

In 2017, the Centro Nacional de Investigación, Difusión y Información Musical (CENIDIM) in Mexico City joined to celebrate the 50th anniversary acquisition of the collection “Sánchez Garza,” a rich corpus of musical sources  including church music manuscripts from early colonial times. CENIDIM organized workshops and concerts together with the preeminent cultural and educational institutions in the region. The number of students enrolled in the performance workshop greatly exceeded the expectations of the organizers, and the closing concert drew massive participation, largely outnumbering typical Early Music performances.

This paper interrogates the significance of such a success and questions if those performances can be seen as reenactments of early colonial periods, while placing them into a larger context of postcolonial construction of identities. Historical musicology in Latin America is essentially problematic, as Early Colonial music simultaneously represents elements of imperialism and of a burgeoning cultural independence. Authors including Waisman, López, and Baker discuss the growing incorporation of colonial repertoire into Early Music practice, its folklorization by European and Northern American performers, and the gradual recognition of the colonial past in the construction of nationality. Stemming from these readings as well as from personal ethnographic research, including semi-structured interviews and participant observation, I examine the meaning of this repertoire for local musicians. They are motivated by an urge to revive and legitimize local musical heritage in a global context. Through this case-study, I discuss the importance of historical musical practices in postcolonial settings and the subversion of a Western Classical Music canon.

Mélodie Michel is a bassoon player and researcher. Active in the baroque and modern  musical scenes of Europe, she also leaded artistic and pedagogic projects around the world. From September 2016, she has been invited by the University of California Santa Cruz to pursue a PhD doctoral research about the practice of Early  Music in the Hispanic world. In parallel, Mélodie develop performances under her artistic name “Melodie Around the World”.


*All Musicking Conference Events are Free and Open to the Public
**All events are subject to change

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