The University of the Philippines Collegium Musicum, a newly-formed choir from the University of the Philippines College of Music, will perform rare Spanish music in Almacenes Reales, Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila on June 19, 2010, 5:30pm. This music has not been heard in Manila since the late 17th and 18th centuries. Arwin Tan will conduct the choir, the core of which is made up of students, faculty, and alumni of the musicology program, and guests from the Musicological Society of the Philippines. The performance will cap the launching of the most recent scholarly book on Philippine music history, Colonial Counterpoint: Music in Early Modern Manila (Oxford University Press, 2010) by Dr. David R. M. Irving of the University of Cambridge. Intramuros Administration (Department of Tourism), under the leadership of Mrs. Anna Maria Harper, will host the event, in cooperation with the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Music, upon the initiative of Dr. Jose S. Buenconsejo, who heads the Graduate Programs in Music at the UP Diliman.

The choral repertoire planned for the evening consists of five pieces such the magnificent “Motete de Nuestra Señora” (1672) by the learned Spanish composer-theorist Andrés Lorente (1624-1703) and four popular extant villancicos written by local composers in the late 17th century for the Dominican santuario of San Juan del Monte. These pieces are several of the many discussed in Dr. Irving’s book, which now stands as one of the more important contributions to knowledge about the multifaceted cultural exchanges between Iberia and Insular Southeast Asia.

In addition to the five choral pieces, two Baroque violin sonatas by the Lazarist priest Teodorico Pedrini (1671-1746) will be played by graduate student Ralph Taylan, accompanied by Prof. Nita Quinto on the harpsichord and Giuseppe Diestro (an alumnus of the Department of Strings at the UP College of Music) on the cello. The violin sonatas may have been conceived or composed in Manila sometime between 1708-1710, when Pedrini sojourned in the Philippine capital before travelling to Beijing, where he arrived in 1711. Fr. Pedrini presented many compositions to the Kangxi emperor as gifts, and it is for this reason that a manuscript of twelve sonatas (Opus 3) has been preserved in the Beijing National Library. An edition of these sonatas will soon be published by Dr. Joyce Lindorff of Temple University, USA. In the sonatas and in the Spanish “criollo” baroque choral music, sonic traces of Manila’s distant colonial past will resound again.

The book launch will be preceded by a free public lecture by Dr. Irving at 2pm on the same day and venue. The topic of the lecture is highly relevant to the venue: “Music in Intramuros during the Galleon Trade.”