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Staff Report

ANTWERP, 17 July 2006 —Laus Polyphoniae, a Flemish early music festival (19 - 27 August) in Antwerp, has chosen the theme of  Spanish and Latin-American music for the New World for its 2006 edition.

Entitled Conquista y Reconquista, and performed by mostly Southern European and Latin American ensembles, the programme features a diptych composed of music from the country of the Catholic rulers King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella—who financed Columbus’s expedition—and music originating in the New World. Composers from Mexico, Peru and Bolivia mixed the music imported from Europe with typical local elements.  

Juan de Araujo, Joan Brudieu, Juan del Encina, Gaspar Fernandes, Mateo Flecha, Francisco Guerrero, Cristóbal de Morales, Luys de Narváez, Santiago de Murcia, Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, Francisco de Peñalosa, Gaspar Sanz, Juan Vásquez en Tomás Luis de Victoria are just some of the composers whose work features in the festival programme. The figure of Don Quixote, too, cannot be missing from this Iberian edition, and the Huelgas Ensemble confronts the golden age of Portuguese polyphonic music with the contemporary genre of fado.

1492 was also the year when, besides the Moors, the Jews were expelled from Spain: it was the start of a Diaspora that would continue to commemorate the country of origin in music and song. Yet Jews and Moors had played an important role in the culture of the Iberian Peninsula, both in science and in the arts. And nowhere more so than at the court of the 13th-century king Alfonso el Sabio (the Wise), who is credited with the text, music and miniatures of the Cantigas de Santa Maria. These Cantigas are the highlight of the festival’s closing concert.

Laus Polyphoniae 2006 Web Site 
19 - 27 August 2006
Antwerp, Belgium
Tel: (32) 3 202 46 69

Related: An interview with Eduardo Lopez Banzo
The Spanish harpsichordist and organist offered CK's Klassiknet some insight into the little known world of Spanish baroque music and the dark, rich and spirited pulse of the jacara, zarzuela and villancico.

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