by Mike Telin
The rise of political and social unrest that is being experienced around the world has inspired a variety of responses from artists. This week the innovative chamber ensemble Time Canvas will present the first of three programs that are part of their Home Not Home project. “We’re exploring how people can be physically at home, but still displaced in some way,” the ensemble’s co-founder Joshua Stauffer said during a telephone interview.
“Right now there are many global conversations going on about what it means to belong to a country and who gets to decide that — as well as arguments over national borders, especially with the rise of extreme nationalism.”
On Saturday, May 19 at 8:00 pm at Historic St. John’s in Ohio City, violinist Chiara Fasani Stauffer, guitarist Joshua Stauffer, and cellist David Ellis will present “Music from the Latin American Baroque.” Tickets can be reserved online. The program will be repeated at 2:00 pm on Sunday, May 20 at the Hudson Library and Historical Society. The Sunday concert is free and open to the public.
The ensemble is also offering house concerts on Thursday, May 17 at 6:30 pm in Cleveland Heights and Friday, May 18 at 6:30 pm in Shaker Heights. Reservations can be made here, and the addresses will be sent out 24 hours before each performance. The concerts are BYOB, with a $10 per person suggested donation.
Joshua Stauffer said that finding Latin American Baroque repertoire for an instrumental ensemble was more difficult than he had anticipated. “Most of what we found is vocal music. That’s partly because a lot of this music comes from the Jesuit tradition — it had conversion as its goal, and the best way to do that was with words. We are aware that the music we’re playing is in many ways the music of the conquerors, and was part of the power structure that enforced colonialism in Latin America.”
The program will include the Sonata in A by Domenico Zipoli, who was born in Italy in 1688. As a Jesuit, he worked in the Reductions of Paraguay teaching music to the Guaraní people. “He was a major voice in Latin American Baroque music, so this was the easy piece to choose,” Stauffer said.
A fruitful source for repertoire was the Trujillo Codex (Codex Martínez Compañón), a manuscript edited by Baltasar Jaime Martínez Compañón, the bishop of Trujillo, Peru. The manuscript documents the life of the diocese and contains over 1,400 watercolors and 20 musical scores.
“He obviously had a well-trained scribe because the scores are transcribed very well,” Stauffer said. “It’s not only European-influenced, it also has songs that are outside the Western canon. A lot of the music requires improvisation, because what has survived are sketches, so you have to fill in the colors yourself.”
The music of Baroque guitarist and composer Santiago de Murcia will also be included. “He lived his life in Spain, but three of his manuscripts were discovered in Latin America — two in Mexico, and in 2006 one in Chile.”
Stauffer said that like many projects, the further he dug into this one, the more nuanced it became. “It’s easy to start out with a clear-cut idea of how people were being oppressed, but the Jesuits also protected people from being captured by the slave-traders. It’s all very complicated. But this music survives in a unique way in Latin America, where the people have adopted it as their own.”
Home Not Home will continue on Saturday, July 7 at 8:00 pm at Historic St. John’s with a concert featuring contemporary compositions for classical guitar and violin inspired by songs of the Sephardic Jews. The program will include Jorge Liderman’s Aires de Sefarad from 2004. “He’s Argentine but for a long time lived in San Francisco up until his death in 2008.”
Then on Saturday, August 11 at 8:00 pm at Historic St. John’s, Archie Green will join the ensemble for “Hip Hop | Minimalism.”
“Archie will give voice to the African American experience of what it still means today to be home but not home. He’s also an advocate for mental health issues in the African American community. We’re going to give him the space to say what he wants.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com May 15, 2018.
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