Of indigenous musics to Trujillo Codex
The The music on this recording is taken from the so-called Trujillo Codex in Peru. This Codex is an example of formal variety and a wealth of musical materials performed on the Iberian Peninsula and in the Americas from the pre-Columbian period up to well into the 18th century, and goes beyond the normal European musical conventions of the time. Francisco Orozco and the members of Música Prima have put together a program from a wide range of sources from the audio-oral tradition, the living memory, that is to say, the place where we adequately take notice of an ephemeral art, a temporary nature, like art music or folk music. Here is the true source, the font from which the wellspring flows and is nourished, the thread that runs through a great deal of the art of music. It is this audio-oral tradition, in which the master teaches his pupil the subtle, intangible elements of his technique his art on a given instrument, and everything a composer pours into a composition, in which he preserves his sonorous archetypes, and in which the performer is an irreplaceable link the chain of musical creation down through history.
Most of the music on the CD goes beyond both the era and the people on the Ibero-American continent and the Iberian Peninsula because they didn’t originate in the mind of any known composer nor was it ever written out on paper so it could be circulated in manuscript or printed form and then recovered by modern-day musicologists and performers. On the contrary, it was only transcribed and written down after having evolved within a living oral tradition, or simply they were never copied down in modern notation till now. So it is that one right after the other, the musicians in Música Prima perform a traditional Guahibo Indian song from the Orinoco river valley in Columbia, sung in the indigenous language and only recently rediscovered, followed by a prayer to the Virgin Mary, also in the indigenous language, by a native Mexican composer, Hernando Franco (1532-1585). These two examples bear remarkable witness to the villancico and other songs on the Iberian Peninsula and in the Americas during the 17th and 18th centuries and preserved in the Trujillo Codex in Peru, a source which, in my opinion, has yet to be adequately explored by musicologists and musicians.
The Trujillo Codex is now at the Library of the Palacio Real in Madrid; it is also known as the Codex Martínez Compañón. It is not strictly a musical document but rather an extraordinary group of papers dealing with ethnography and history that was compiled by a bishop from Navarra, Baltasar Jaime Martínez Compañón y Bujanda and then sent to the Spanish king Carlos III who then gave it to the Royal Cabinet of Natural History. Within the whole of this important collection there are 20 pieces of music using period notation. This learned clergyman, born in Cabredo, Navarra on the 6th January 1737, was assigned to Lima in 1767 to occupy the post of precentor at the cathedral. In 1780, he was elevated to bishop and sent to the episcopal see in Trujillo, Peru. Then, in 1788, he was recommended for the post of Archbishop in Santa Fe de Bogatá, where he died in 1797. As bishop of Trujillo, he made pastoral visits throughout his diocese between 1782-1785. He was a true child of the Enlightenment, carefully recording everything that might have been interesting to the men of his time and, at the same time, fulfilling his canonical duties to meet the spiritual needs of the Christian community in this very large diocese. He was, indeed, an excellent record-keeper and a competent musician, so in these travels and contacts with traditional music traditions, he was able to write down performance indications over and beyond the basic notes in the score.