The Lost Music of the Andes -
History and Musical Legacy
Most of the Baroque music of the vice royal period that has survived was composed
approximately between the years 1630 and 1760, belonging to a period that may be
known as the Peruvian Musical Baroque. The cultural interest of this music and its
artistic value has been internationally acclaimed.
There are two ecclesiastical archives in Peru, which have been already identified, and
contain music of vice royal times: The Archive of the Archbishop of Lima and the library
of the Seminary of San Antonio Abad in Cusco. Both shelter about seven hundred pieces.
In the library of the Seminary of San Antonio Abad in Cusco (founded in 1598) we find the
most important repository of vice royal music of South America, if you consider the time span it comprises, the quality of the music and the fact that it remains in the institution in which it originated.
During the years 2000 and 2001 the LOST MUSIC Project did historical and musicological research in the library of the Seminary of San Antonio Abad in Cusco. Maestro Jose Quezada Macchiavello was in charge of the research, assisted by Lic. Mauricio Veliz.
The catalogue presented by the LOST MUSIC Project of the music found in the library of the old Cusco seminar has 404 titles. There are manuscripts with compositions of some of the most important baroque musicians of South America, as for example Tomas de Torrejon y Velasco, Chapel Master of the Cathedral of Lima (12 complete compositions). There are works by very interesting Spanish composers, in some cases not found in Spanish archives, as well as by local musicians from Cusco, one of them being Esteban Ponce de Leon, Chapel Master of the Cathedral of Cusco, around the middle of the XVIII century.
Most of the pieces found by the LOST MUSIC Project in the Seminary of San Antonio
Abad in Cusco were sacral poly choral compositions with words in Latin for two, three
and up to seven choirs.
There are also numerous carols (168 catalogued), many also poly choral as well as some
dramatic compositions and even instrumental pieces, a not very frequent fact in South
During the research period of the LOST MUSIC Project in the library of the Seminary of
an Antonio Abad in Cusco, Mauricio Veliz discovered a folium with solos from LA
PURPURA DE LA ROSA by Tomas de Torrejon y Velasco, the first opera composed and premiered in America.
In 1953 the Peruvian historian P. Ruben Vargas Ugarte S.J. made the valuable musical archive of the Seminary of San Antonio Abad of Cusco known. Later, the Chilean musicologist Samuel Claro in 1969 and the North American Robert Stevenson in 1970, published catalogues of the music found in the repository.
The Argentine musicologist Carmen Garcia Munoz did research in the Cusco seminar during the 1980s, registering the work in microfilm and files that after her death are now in the Carlos Vegas Institute of the Universidad Catolica in Buenos Aires, in process of being catalogued.
In 1974 the Universidad de Chile published an important anthology prepared by Samuel Claro, including transcriptions of twelve pieces from the library of the Seminary of San Antonio Abad in Cusco. Months before, that same year, the Asociacion Artistica y Cultural Jueves in Lima had published an anthology of transcriptions done between 1971 and 1973 by Arndt Von Gavel which included nine pieces from the repository, two of them also transcribed and published by Claro.
In 1986 another anthology of vice royal music, prepared by the Argentine musicologist Waldemar Axel Roldan, appeared. It includes his own transcription of a piece from the library of the Seminary of San Antonio Abad in Cusco, which had previously been published by “Jueves”. Unfortunately, this piece titled “A Senores los del Buen Gusto” by the Cusco author Ignacio Quispe, was not found in the inventory taken in September, 2000 by the LOST MUSIC Project.
The most recent transcriptions of Peruvian Baroque music done by the Argentine
musicologist Bernardo Illari – not published but recorded – and those of the Peruvian
living in Mexico, Aurelio Tello, are published in a book edited by AFP INTEGRA and
are also musically important.
In the last few years some recordings of music from the Viceroyalty of Peru – including
the music from Cusco - have been done in Europe, the United States of America and
other American countries, with very little promotion and marketing.
The different catalogues of the music of the Seminary of San Antonio Abad in Cusco had had no practical use in the library. Due to this, after 26 years of the last work having been done, the LOST MUSIC Project considered it necessary to prepare a new catalogue.
After cataloging, which was done by the year 2000, it was possible to confirm that due to the proper zeal of the successive rectors of the Seminary, a great part of the music had been preserved. From the inventory done by the historian Ruben Vargas Ugarte S. J. in 1953 up to date, there have been no important losses.
The catalogue of the LOST MUSIC Project is applied to the internal classifying of the manuscripts in the library of the Seminary of San Antonio Abad in Cusco, also making their preservation easier.
Two years later the Editorial Fund of the Congress would publish the book “The Musical Legacy of Baroque Cusco” by Jose Quezada Macchiavello, which is the result of the research done by the LOST MUSIC Project in the library of the Seminary of San Antonio Abad in Cusco. This research encompassed over thirty (30) years.
Discovery of the Manuscripts
Copy of Original Manuscript
Catalog of Manuscripts