Mexican Kaleidoscope

Classical music is so focused on the idea of Western art forms that music from other parts of the world is often neglected, even New World colonies of Western nations. In fact, Mexican composers produced many Baroque works during the 18th century.

The Apollo Chamber Players will present Mexican Kaleidoscope,a string trio and quartet concert that features pieces by prominent Mexican composers, including Manuel de Zumaya, a chapelmaster and composer who lived from 1678 to 1755. His music is mostly unknown, and new works are still being rediscovered.

“Zumaya was one of the first Mexican composers of the Baroque period, and he’s the connection to Baroque music. He was the first person to translate Italian opera into Spanish,” said Matthew Detrick, artistic director and violinist for Apollo.

“Between the Baroque period and the other composers on the program, there was a dearth of classical music and art in general in Mexico. It was only after the Mexican Revolution that Mexico was free from European influence and could cultivate its own music and art on its own terms.”

Silvestre Revueltas, Manuel Ponce and Carlos Chávez, whose pieces are featured in the concert, became part of the worldwide push for folk-based music that began around the turn of the 20th century as they sought to re-create the indigenous music of Mexico.

“A lot of the folkloric elements are more rhythmic and dance-style, which is imagined because it wasn’t written down. These composers wanted to go back to the roots and their ancestors, before Spanish influence and conquest, and bring back to the forefront the music of their ancestors,” Detrick said.

A pre-concert lecture by University of Houston professor Dr. Howard Pollack takes place on Sunday. 6 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Boulevard. For information, call 832-496-9943 or visit $30.
Sun., March 22, 6 p.m.; Tue., March 24, 7:30 p.m., 2015

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Alexandra Doyle