The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Edgewood College Chamber Singers will make history when it performs by invitation at a sacred music festival in Quito, Ecuador later this month. | March 5, 2016

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By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has just a small — yet big — news item to pass along today:

The Edgewood College Chamber Singers (below) will perform by invitation later this month at the International Sacred Music Festival in Quito, Ecuador.

Edgewood Chamber Singers.jpeg

The choir will perform under the direction of Sergei Pavlov (below), who writes:

“The Festival Internacional de Música Sacra in Quito is a long-standing tradition and one of the most prestigious Easter music festivals in South America.

“It is organized by the National Theater (Teatro Nacional Sucre) and the Municipality of the City of Quito.

“In previous years, it has featured groups from about 15 countries, and all the performances — around 20 concerts — are completely free for the audience and are presented in numerous historic churches in Quito.

Sergei Pavlov

“The Edgewood Chamber Singers is the first American youth choir to be invited (last year the group from the U.S. was the professional American Spiritual Ensemble). We will be performing together with the youth choir of Teatro Sucre and the National Chamber Choir of Ecuador.

“The concert will feature music by the Baroque composer Domenico Zipoli – who was an 18th-century missionary in South America; traditional African Christian music; music by Karl Jenkins and Aaron Copland; and spirituals. (You can hear a beautiful non-choral work — an Air — by Domenico Zipoli, performed by the Jean-Francois Paillard Chamber Orchestra in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

“The festival runs for two weeks before Holy Week. We will be there March 17-24 and our concerts are March 21 and March 22.

“Unfortunately, in South America people still rely on TV and newspaper advertising and the on-line info appears only a few weeks before the festival.”

For more information, visit:


  1. Domenico Zipoli has been brought up again, and guess by who? Hint: by the Catholic church and its many institutions. Here he is being called “an 18th century missionary in South America.”

    He was more than that. He was a Jesuit and he and the Jesuit order of which he was a part and the church that sponsored this order took part in significant imperialist acts against the indigenous people of South America, the “reductions”.

    This has been brought up before and there is a lengthy commentary on Zipoli at this web site back on June 30, 2015. Here’s a link to the article and please look at the comments.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, which one might expect, to be most favorable to the Jesuit role in the “reductions” has some fascinating comments about them.

    Like this:

    “The economic machinery of the Reductions could be kept in motion, and the Indians, naturally averse to work and thoughtless, brought up to systematic labour only by a well-regulated direction and control.”
    {note that the same kind of remarks were made about slaves and blacks in The Peculiar Institution}.

    And this: “As a matter of fact, the Jesuits used every effort to educate the Indians up to autonomy. Their efforts were frustrated by the deep-rooted indolence of the race.”

    And this:
    Loyalty to the king and enthusiasm for his cause and person were instilled deeply by the fathers in the hearts of the Reduction Indians, Philip V himself declaring in his famous decree of 28 December, 1743 that in his entire colonial possessions in America he had no more faithful subjects. On all patronal feasts the royal standard was borne to the church with great ceremony, and the alferez real, who carried it, received with regal honours at the church door. Thereupon the banner was planted on the plaza, with a picture of the king, and the entire militia with their officers renewed their oath of homage before it in a solemn manner amid shouts of: “Mburu bicha guazu: toi cobengatu ñande Tey marangatu: toi cobengatu ñande Rey N.” (Long live our King, the great Caciquel! Long live our good King; long live our King N.). Indians took pride in calling themselves “Soldiers of the King.”

    And this:
    “Usually a healthy race, the Guaraní (the indigenous people) had absolutely no power of resistance to certain contagious diseases, such as measles and smallpox. Repeated severe epidemics of these diseases, such as occurred in 1618, 1619, 1635, 1636, 1692, 1718, 1733, 1739, and 1764, decimated the population of the Reductions in a frightful manner. Thus in the one year 1735 measles brought death to 18,773 persons, and in 1737 smallpox claimed more than 30,000 victims. In 1733 12,933 children died of smallpox.” Of course, guess who brought those infectious diseases with them?

    Under discipline and penal measures this: “It was necessary to accustom the Indians to Christian morals and love of work by mildness linked with severity.”

    And this: “The early marriages (boys were obliged to marry at 17, girls at 15), strict discipline, and surveillance fostered chastity among the natives, which aided the natural increase of the race, ordinarily not very fruitful (the average number of children in was four). Careful control and strict segregation of all objectionable elements did the rest. “Such innocence prevails among these people,” Bishop Faxardo wrote, 20 May 1720, from Buenos Aires to Philip V, “who are composed exclusively of Indians naturally inclined to all kinds of vices, that I believe no mortal sin is ever committed there, the vigilance of the shepherds foreseeing and preventing even the slightest fault.”

    And this: “The Reductions of Paraguay are justly called a model of a theocratic commonwealth. Religion ruled the entire public and private life. The entire community attended Holy Mass and the evening devotions daily. Prayers and religious songs accompanied and encompassed work and recreation alike. Religious instruction was given daily for the children…”

    Distribution of Labour and Manner of Control:

    “The economic machinery of the Reductions could be kept in motion, and the Indians, naturally averse to work and thoughtless, brought up to systematic labour only by a well-regulated direction and control. Even the children were taught to work, and day by day some of them were occupied in the workshops and spinning-rooms under special overseers, while others were led out into the fields and plantations, to the joyous strains of music, following a statue of St. Isidore carried before them, and employed there for a few hours.The women were obliged, in addition to the performance of their household duties, to spin a certain amount weekly for the use of the community, to help during the sowing and harvesting of cotton and the like.”

    Why the “reductions” were in isolated areas: “The plan of the Jesuits of forming, with rude tribes of nomads, large commonwealth, separate from the Spanish colonies, and far in the interior of a country but little explored placed before them the difficult problem of making the commonwealth economically independent and self-sustaining. If the Indians were obliged, day by day, to gather their means of sustenance in the forest and on the plain, they would never have heen lifted out of their nomad life and would have remained half-heathens.”

    Just one big happy family. And such a nice guy!

    All quotations from The Catholic Encyclopedia at

    Comment by fflambeau — March 5, 2016 @ 5:26 am

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