Cultural Crossroads: Spanish, Sephardic and Latin American Music

Performed on Saturday, March 29, 2008
Also performed on Sunday, March 30, 2008

View the concert flyer or program notes.

The Highland Park Recorder Society (HPRS) aka the Garden State Sinfonia, will present two dynamic concerts in collaboration with Zorzal Music Ensemble. The first concert will take place on Saturday, March 29, 2008, at 7:30 P.M. in the United Methodist Church, at the corner of George Street at Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. The second concert will be on Sunday, March 30, at 4:00 P.M. at the Highland Park Conservative Temple - Congregation Anshe Emeth, 201 South Third Avenue, Highland Park, NJ. Admission: $15; Seniors/Students: $10; Seniors in groups of 10 or more: $5; Children 12 and under: Free; Veterans: Free.

Both concerts will feature the world premiere of a new composition “Hago de lo flaco fuerte” by Conductor-Composer Dr. Lynn Gumert, commissioned by the Highland Park Recorder Society in celebration of its 21st Anniversary. It is based on a poem by Florencia del Pinar, the first known Spanish woman poet, who was active in the 15th century court of Ferdinand and Isabella. This is a triple-chorus piece, using a vocal quartet and two mixed recorder-string choruses, arranged spatially to evoke the polychoral works of the Spanish cathedrals.

Zorzal, in accordance with its mission, to create an understanding of and appreciation for Hispanic musical traditions and heritage, will perform 15th through 17th century Spanish and Latin-American music with a multicultural flair, particularly pieces that use African, Native American and Sephardic rhythms, scales, languages and dialects. The music will be presented through a vocal quartet, recorders, Spanish guitar, harpsichord, viola da gamba and Latin American, Arab, and African percussion.

The Highland Park Recorder Society, as an expression of its purpose, to cultivate an appreciation of the art, history, literature, and uses of the recorder, and heighten public awareness of the beauties of recorder and early music, will feature Musica Dolce, consisting of recorders, violin, cello and harpsichord, performing the rarely heard eighteenth century Spanish instrumental music of Francisco José de Castro. Their recorder ensemble will present sacred and secular Hispanic Renaissance music.

March 2008 will mark the sixteenth annual international celebration of Play-the-Recorder Month, observed by recorder players and chapters of the American Recorder Society (ARS) since 1993, by finding ways to raise the profile of the recorder in their own communities. The ARS seeks to promote the recorder and its music by developing resources to help people of all ages and all ability levels to play the recorder, supporting recorder playing professionally, and as a shared social experience.

Play-the-Recorder Month grew out of an event staged as part of an “ARS50” anniversary celebration during which members all over the world played a recorder piece simultaneously on April 1, 1989. Play-the-Recorder Day was first officially held in 1992, and then expanded to Play-the-Recorder Month the following year.

This program has been made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through a grant provided by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission/Board of Chosen Freeholders.