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An Evening with Musicologist Drew Davies

For years, fortune seekers have uncovered treasures from the shipwrecks of failed Spanish expeditions, bringing to light the symbols of a fallen empire. In much the same way, musicologist and scholars have rediscovered the music of the Spanish colonies, giving us a glimpse into the opulence and grandeur of a time long past.

Now is a very popular time for Classical music in general. However, the most well-known works of the Baroque and Pre-Romantic periods of European music were composed in France, Italy and Germany. Only recently has Spain begun to make an effort to rediscover its own rich musical history, and there is still a long way to go. Thanks to musicologists, who in this case could even be called archaeologists, more and more research is now focusing on the wonderful but unfamiliar music written by composers in Spain. In addition, they are now shedding light on an even deeper buried treasure: an entire genre with Spanish origins and traditions, but created here in the New World. This type of music, no longer considered Spanish, but rather, Spanish-American, has introduced an extremely interesting new mixture of old culture and new inspiration. It is just the beginning, but with the help of people such as Professor Davies, we are slowly peeling back the layers of history to uncover the invaluable music that has been forgotten all these years, and finally giving it the recognition it deserves.

Assistant Professor of Musicology at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, Dr. Drew Davies, discusses his research on the music of colonial Mexico. He is the Mexico City Regional Coordinator for Musicat, the National Seminar on the Music of New Spain and Independent Mexico at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

Recorded Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at Instituto Cervantes of Chicago.


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