Gutiérrez de Padilla's mass "Ego flos campi"
coupled with the dances and villancicos which inspired it.
The Harp Consort
In the mid-seventeenth century, Mexico's Puebla Cathedral boasted a rich
musical tradition, modelled on Old Spain yet influenced by the exotic rhythms
of the New World and by the rich harmonies of African music, brought to central
America by slaves from the Ivory coast. Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, whose
mass "Ego flos campi" forms the centre-piece of this CD, was born in the south
of Spain and was maestro de capilla in Jerez and Cadiz, before crossing the
Atlantic to take up the post of assistant in Puebla. He became maestro de
capilla there in 1629.
This conservative, formal style was regarded as a reflection of the ancient splendour and solemnity of the holy Mass, but Padilla brings the old forms to life with driving rhythms and sparkling syncopations. Just as the composer himself left Spain to make his home in the New World, his musical style was grounded in the traditions of the Golden Age and then nurtured by the colours and rhythms of central America.