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Cuenca goes for the Baroque

Story and photos by Bartley D’Alfonso 

Once again our adopted city shines as the cultural capital of South America.  The Cuenca Symphony Orchestra hosted its gala “First Festival, Viva Vivaldi, Cuenca 2018” series of free concerts, celebrating the Renaissance and Baroque eras of classical music (from 1400 to 1600; and 1600 to 1750, respectively).

The festival began Thursday night with a concert in the recently restored iglesia San Blas.

On Saturday noon, patrons were treated to the shiny brass musical instruments known as “the horns”, being trumpets, trombones, French horns, coronets, and the tuba, inside the Church of la Merced (Calle Larga and President Borrego).

Twelve musicians played the repertoire of Giovanni Gabrielli of Italy;  Johann Christoph Pezel of Germany; Englishman Thomas Campion; Michel Richard Delalande of France; Welsh-born Thomas Tompkins; and the most prolific composer of the two eras, Anonymous. They played a total of nine compositions, in sets of 5 rotating musicians. It was beautiful music played inside a beautiful church.

On Sunday morning, the repertoire will feature works by Antonio Vivialdi (the “Little Italian Redhead”); German born Johann Molter; and a modern day 1992 cantana by Juan ÁngelCiurleo of Argentina, featuring the local Children’s Choir of the José Rodríguez School of Arts. The free performance will be held inside the Iglesia Vieja or Old Cathedral opposite Parque Calderón at 11 a.m.