Collegium Musicum to Perform Newly-Discovered Works

The University of Connecticut Collegium Musicum will perform Ecuadorian liturgical music from the 17th and early 18th centuries at Storrs Congregational Church on Saturday, Nov. 6.

Collegium Musicum is an ensemble of instrumentalists and singers that performs early music. Members include UConn students, faculty, and community members. The performance is one of the highlights of a special project for the 2010-11 academic year that is spearheaded by fourth-year music student Angelica Durrell.

Durrell, a native of Ecuador, has undertaken a research project on music manuscripts discovered by her uncle, musicologist Mario Godoy Aguirre. These manuscripts date from the 17th and early 18th centuries, and they are important evidence of colonial musical and liturgical practices at Quito Cathedral, Ecuador, as well as the Franciscan Convent of the Immaculate Conception at Ibarra, where they are currently housed.

The ensemble will perform a reconstruction, accomplished through Durrell’s archival work in Ecuador during the summer of 2010, of a mass for the feast of Corpus Christi incorporating some of these newly discovered villancicos (or polyphonic songs written in Spanish), as they might have been heard ca. 1700.

Corpus Christi was especially significant in colonial Ecuador because of its correspondence with the indigenous festival of the Sun God, which was known as Inti Raymi. The music that accompanied the feast was an amalgamation of native and Spanish traditions.

In addition to their performance on Saturday, the ensemble plans to perform this repertory in Connecticut cities with large Latin American populations, in an effort to renew connections with their cultural heritage. The music will be heard in Ecuador as well. The Collegium will travel there during Spring Break 2011 to perform the reconstructed mass in the original locations in which it was heard.

Eric Rice, associate professor of music history and director of Collegium Musicum, says, “Performing historical music, particularly neglected music, offers a wonderful opportunity for us to interact with the thoughts and feelings of our forebears, which music’s immediacy transmits better than any other art form.”

An additional benefit of Durrell’s project, according to Rice, is that, “It draws together the University, surrounding Latino communities in Connecticut, and the citizens of Quito and Ibarra, the two cities we will visit in Ecuador, in a kind of rediscovery of our collective past.”

Performances are scheduled as follows:

7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 6
Storrs Congregational Church
2 North Eagleville Road, Storrs
Free admission

7:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7
St. Rose of Lima Church
115 Blatchley Avenue, New Haven

Also, November 14 at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic,  March 11, 2011 in Quito, Ecuador, and March 20, 2011 in New London.