Classical Music

Passport Mexico – Manuel de Sumaya

Bienevenidos a México! Hoy quiero hablar de un compositor, organista y director de coro mexicano de la Ciudad de Mexico (y mas tarde, de Oaxaca, Mexico), Maestro Manuel de Sumaya.

Oaxaca, mexico

I couldn’t find a picture of the composer himself, so this is the next best thing – his music.

Manuel de Sumaya (1678-1755)

Hometown: Born in Mexico, but spent many years in Oaxaca.

Played: Organ

Known for:  Choral works and sacred music

Manuel de Sumaya was a baroque-era organist, composer, and choral director who was the first western (hemisphere) composer to write an italian-texted opera. That Italian-texted opera was primarily for the Viceroy, Don Fernando de Alencastre Noroña y Silva, Duke of Linares, who enjoyed Italian opera and was able to commission musical works. One of his commissions resulted in Sumaya’s first opera, La Parténope of which the libretto is kept at the National Library in Mexico City, but the music itself has been lost. (Source: Artes)

There’s not a lot of information on him except that he was perhaps the best known of Mexican colonial era composers. (Source: Mis Trabajos de Artes) Sumaya was mostly known for writing sacred works as he was the appointed chapel master at the cathedral in Mexico City

I love early choral works and Sumaya’s are especially nice. Here’s one of his called Angélicas Milicias, or Angels’ Army.

Here’s some more music that I think you’ll enjoy.

So what did you think? Nice, right? There’s a lot more on youtube, so I encourage you to check some of it out.

Next up is Northern Ireland. Until then, safe travels! 

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