A Polyphonic Mass written in 1636 a Zapotec Indian, heard in the exotic context of Baroque Mexico: the fascinating world of Spanish, Creole, Mestizos, African slaves and Indians, expressing their ethnical diversity in captivating melodies and infectious dances, performed by PHOENIX on period instruments.
The central piece of the concert is the Zapotec Mass, a four-voice work which comprises some of the stylistic traits of Native Mexican composers, and reflects the syncretism of New World influence on the Old World polyphonic tradition. Composed in 1636 by Andrés Martinez, a native of the Zapotec tribe that live in the Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, the mass was uncovered and transcribed by the musicologist Mark Brill.
"Quite outstanding! I love your combinations of instruments. Your festive approach is exactly what this kind of music needs. The mass is stunning, Well done!" Dr. Mark Brill, editor of the Zapotec Mass
Ensemble PHOENIX on period instruments
Myrna Herzog - conductor, musical director
Einat Aronstein, Michal Okon - sopranos
Alon Harari, Avital Dery - altos
Yaacov Halperin - tenor
Zachariah Kariithi - baritone
Assaf Benraf - bass
Ensemble PHOENIX on period instruments:
Shira Ben Yehoshua - shawm, zambomba
Adi Silberberg - recorders, colascione
Raphael Isaac Landzbaum - alto dulcian, recorders
Liron Rinot - sackbut
Alexander Fine - bass dulcian, wind-band leader
Yizhar Karshon - harpsichord, organ
Dara Bloom - violone
Omer Schonberger - baroque jarana, baroque guitar
Myrna Herzog - rabel
Rony Iwryn - percussion
"For the Mexicans, unlike the Europeans, the mass was not a solemn affair but a sacred merrymaking. Catchy tunes in unfamiliar tonalities, captivating syncopated dance rhythms, dominating percussion and other period instruments came paradoxically close to the Jewish idea of worshipping with joy. There was a lot of musical fun and good humor… and a polished, professional rendition". Ury Eppstein, The Jerusalem Post.
"I was blown away by their performance…. showing a part of the Mexican heritage that I am tremendously proud of, but not only that, presenting a piece that I, a lover of Early Music, had never heard ! A world premiere of a Mexican piece written in the 17h century, almost four hundred years ago, and here, in Israel , I think that this is truly remarkable. I hope we will be able to bring the ensemble and the piece and all it represents to Mexico. I want to make a public commitment for the [Mexican] Embassy support. You are doing something which puts Israel in a very special place in the world of early music". The Mexican ambassador, Mr. Carlos Rico, at the world premiere of the Zapotec Mass, the Israel Festival, Jerusalem, June 11th, 2006.