Bailes, Tonadas & Cachuas




Bailes, Tonadas & Cachuas, 18th century Codex Trujillo del Perú, 2013

(Label: Cobra)


This codex, owned by the Biblioteca de Palacio, Madrid, consists of nine volumes of watercolour paintings collected around 1780 by bishop Jaime Baltazár Martínez Compañón y Bujanda in his diocese of Trujillo.

The paintings represent scenes from daily life, plant and animal life, portraits, maps, etc., made to inform king Carlos III of Spain about the region. Volume 2 includes19 musical works written for religious celebrations, or simply at festive days held in local villages of the diocese.
These scores are of immense value, first of all as they have been passed on in their original versions and in writing, rather than orally. This enables MT not only to go to the roots of the traditional music of the region, but also reveal the links with the colonial musical heritage. Besides that, the illustrations tell something about musical instruments, dances, and clothing of those days.

Another essential quality of the collection lies in the fact that bishop Martínez Compañon took the precaution of organizing it according to the locations from which it was drawn (Trujillo, Lambayeque, Cajamarca a.o.) and of specifying the genres of the musical pieces (cachuas, tonadas, bailes). He also took care to add various comments that allow us to deduce how the pieces were performed and to which social group they belonged. As far as the texts are concerned, the pieces consist of love songs, songs of contest, songs of praise and even songs with erotic connotations. Though he was every bit a bishop, scientific discipline gave Compañon the authority to transcribe even these pieces!
Adrián Rodríguez Van der Spoel has completed a book on this important Codex and given several lectures about it, e.g. at the Instituto Cervantes, Utrecht University. Música Temprana has performed this repertoire in the Netherlands, France, Finland, Sweden, Belgium and Bolivia.