In 17th and 18th century New England, transplanted Englishmen like Daniel Read, Abraham Wood, and especially William Billings were composing beautiful but rough-hewn and distinctly American vocal music for use in what were called "singing schools." Far to the west and south, in what was then called New Spain and would later be called Mexico, natives and transplanted Spaniards were composing liturgical music of a richness and complexity that was worthy of the greatest cathedrals of Europe – and teaching their native converts to do the same. This disc showcases the works of two of 18th century Mexico's finest composers: the Mexican-born Manuel de Zumaya and the transplanted European Ignacio de Jerusalem. The latter is represented by a polychoral Mass in D Minor, a responsory, and a gorgeous Dixit Dominus setting written in six sections; from the former listeners have a setting of Jeremiah's lamentations, a breathtakingly complex solfeggio composition titled Sol-fa de Pedro, and the polychoral Celebren, Publiquen.
Anyone interested in stunning violin artistry should buy this amazing disc straightaway. It’s one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time. I hadn’t come across Tianwa Yang’s Sarasate series for Naxos before but I will certainly search out the other discs as a matter of some urgency. Her playing is simply extraordinary - no wonder she’s been described as “A Pride of China”. This isn’t one of those flashy, hollow, 20-notes-a-second recitals that quite frankly drive me to distraction.
German composer Paul Hindemith wrote concertos for nearly every instrument in the orchestra. Here you get a concert for one of the most common instruments, the violin, along with two distinctively textured orchestral works, the giant Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by C.M. von Weber and the somewhat obscure Konzertmusik für Streichorchester und Blechbläser (Concert Music for Strings and Brass Instruments), the earliest piece on the program (it was written in 1930).