Lecture: "Bernardino de Sahagún's 'Psalmodia Christiana': A Christian Songbook from Sixteenth-Century New Spain"
Fri, February 17, 2012 • 3:00 PM • FAL 4.104
In 1583, Pedro Ocharte published the first book of vernacular sacred song in the Americas—the Psalmodia Christiana by Bernardino de Sahagún, a Spanish missionary of the Franciscan Order. Sahagún composed his book of 333 songs in the Nahuatl language during the second half of the sixteenth century to promote the formation of Catholic communitites among the Mexica (more commonly known as the "Aztecs"). Dr. Lorenzo Candelaria, Associate Professor of Musicology, will show how a close reading of its song texts reaveals an important facet of the understudied legacy of Western plainchant traditions in the Christian evangelization of the New World. He focuses in particular on a body of eighteen previously uninventoried Latin hymns that were translated into Nahuatl and woven into the fabric of this vernacular songbook. More broadly, he shows how Mexica sacred music traditions, far from being banished, were folded into the European thrust of the Christian mission in sixteenth-century New Spain.
For more information, contact Nicholas Ragheb.