Somewhere Between Orthodoxy and Good Taste: Santiago Díaz de Herrera’s Musical Settings of Psalms Dixit Dominus and Letatus Sum
AbstractThe music of Santiago Díaz de Herrera, an obscure early nineteenth-century Mexican composer, is oxymoronic in nature; it reflects the musical tastes of the Church officials and community for whom it was composed but not the guidelines for correct ecclesiastical music practice. This study is based upon two compositions by Herrera, the orchestrated choral psalm settings, Dixit Dominus and Letatus Sum, which were found at the Historical Diocesan Archives of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and transcribed into working scores. This music is studied in relation to taste and the practice of ecclesiastical and secular music in Mexico in and around the nineteenth century. The first area of investigation centers on the presence of ‘worldly’ sounds and the feminine voice in liturgical music through the lens of Catholic musical orthodoxy. The second complementary area of contextual study looks at the relationship between buen gusto (good taste) and musical culture in terms of education, musical conventions, and musical genres. The third trajectory reconfigures musical orthodoxy and taste through an interpretation of Herrera’s music wherein extra-musical associative connotations embedded in the psalm settings are considered through filters of current musicological approaches, with a marked emphasis on gendered representation. Lastly, the question of musical obsolescence is addressed through the reworking of Herrera’s music into a community-based art project. This interdisciplinary study makes a contribution to musicology pertaining to the music and musicians of Mexico’s nineteenth century and to developing new approaches for connecting disciplines of music performance and musicology to community-based activities.
Benner, Karen Elizabeth <http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/view/creators/Benner=3AKaren_Elizabeth=3A=3A.html> (2016) Somewhere Between Orthodoxy and Good Taste: Santiago Díaz de Herrera’s Musical Settings of Psalms Dixit Dominus and Letatus Sum. PhD thesis, Concordia University.