Anonymous composer part of concert

By Freya Bergren

The Orchestra of New Spain will present a community Epiphany Concert at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church, 1809 W David St, in Dallas, based on the repertory of its recent Christmas Concert at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Admission is free; donations may be made to the church. 

Epiphany artwork by Edward Burne-Jones

The program incorporates joyful villancicos (carols) that are commonly heard in cathedrals and village churches throughout Spain and Hispanic America. A Christmas cantata by Francisco Courcelle will feature an alto solo by Nicolas Garza, which in the baroque period would have been sung by a castrato. 

Villancicos this season are from Spain’s Padre Soler, Cuba’s Esteban Salas, Mexico’s Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, an anonymous Bolivian composer and Chile’s Alfonso Letelier Llona, known for his early 20th century choral works using a style prevalent in Gregorian and modal singing.

“Villancicos of Padre Soler are similar to cantatas of Bach in that they are for solo voices and tell a particular story. Soler’s were often told with humor about community events and people, using metaphors to tell the Nativity story. This dramatic approach in the IberAmerican 17th and 18th centuries is ideal for Christmas concerts that “the entire family can enjoy,” says Artistic Director Grover Wilkins. 

Distancing, masking and all local protocols will be required at Saint Cecilia, which has been offering Mass for many months now, with audience seated by pods in alternate rows.  All musicians will be masked and distanced, and singers will use a specially designed “singers mask.”  Call 214-750-1492 for info.