Friday, September 8


Hanacpachap Cuissicuinin

While Daniel Mitsui and I may have fixations on slightly different eras of Catholic art ("Was it fancy-schmancy hot tub baptismal fonts in 17th Centurt Rome?" "Was it trendy Richard Vosko bare crucifixes in 14th century France?") our tastes still continue to have eery overlaps. Like he's just posted on one of the few pieces of music I have four separate recordings of, Hanacpachap Cuissicuinin, a Quechua Indian hymn which inevitably seems to have completely and utterly different translations whenever I've run across it, ranging from a hymn to God the Father to a poetic appeal to the Virgin Mary, to a laconic "translation uncertain" in one particular set of liner notes!

Incidentally, while Hanacpachap is supposed to be the oldest piece of polyphonic music written in the Americas, there's several runners-up, such as a number of Nahuatl motets written by an Aztec aristocrat under the pen name of an actual Spanish composer of the era, Herrando Franco, which are also worth looking up, even if they're harder to find.

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