26 Pages

The Iberian World

Surveying choral music of the Iberian world during the 1800s requires confronting one outstanding geo-cultural reality of that period: at the beginning of that century-a largely inauspicious one for the Iberian Peninsula-Spanish and Portuguese colonies spanned the globe, though they were concentrated in the Western hemisphere, on the southeastern and southwestern coasts of Africa, and Southeast Asia. Spanish and Portuguese were spoken as a native tongue by millions of people over an immense area. And wherever the Spaniards and Portuguese took their language, they also took their religion; hence, by 1800, choral music associated with the Catholic liturgy was also a global phenomenon, as it had been for centuries. In addition, they brought a tradition of various kinds of musical theater that sometimes included the use of chorus.