Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tlacochahuaya, An Organ Concert alongside the great floral frescoes of the Central Valleys, Oaxaca

On our final day in Oaxaca at the IOHIO baroque organ festival on Sunday morning, we left Oaxaca City, and went towards el Valle Central or Central Valley. Our first stop was the town of Tlacochahuaya.
At the corners of the atrium of the church of
Tlacochahuaya are the "well chapels" or
"capillas de pozo", which were used during the
initial missionary period for baptisms.
The convent of San Jeronimo Tlacochahuaya was initiated in 1558 by Fray Jordán de Catalina, as a house for spiritual exercises for the Dominicans that were working as missionaries in the nearby city of Oaxaca. Over the course of centuries, the layout of the Church changed a great deal, but the convent retains the size it had in the 16th Century.

Originally there was a bulrush at the middle of the
top of this façade, but when both bell towers were
finished, the bells were removed from the bulrush
and placed in the belfries, and in their place, niches
were built. The most interesting sculpture in these
niches is Saint Jerome, watching the Cross, with
a horn in his ear, to hear the voice of God. 

Craig Cramer checking some details
on the keyboard before the beginning
of his concert.
Craig Cramer is stationed at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, U.S.A., where he is professor of organ. Mr. Cramer is also the resident organist of Wales Episcopal Church in Elkhart, Indiana, and he holds degrees from the Westminster Choir College.


The gentleman standing behind Craig Cramer
has a double function during the concert. First
he must turn the pages of the music sheet for
Mr. Cramer and then he must pull and push
the stop buttons on the side of the keyboard.
Craig Cramer's repertoire included music by Francisco Correa de Arauxo (1576-1854), Bernardo Storace, Sebastian Aguilera de Heredia (1561-1627) and Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654).

On the left side of the Tlacochahuaya
organ is decorated with an angel
playing what seems to be a lute,
amidst various floral themes.

The floral theme is ubiquitous in San Jeronimo
The floral theme is ubiquitous in San Jerónimo, Tlacochahuaya. At the same time, flowers were central in the art of Verbruggen, Adrian de Gryef and Jan Brueghel, and the school of Ambers at the end of the 17th Century.
Floral theme in the "Flight to Egypt",
School of Jan Brueghel,
Gerstenmaier Collection,
(recently on display at the Museo de
San Carlos, Mexico City).

Looking down from the choir loft

Patrick Kavanagh, Craig Cramer and Estela

Lieuwe Tamminga, resident organist at the
Basilica di San Petronius, Bologna, Italy, is
signing his CD for me.

Estela is waiting her turn to pump
the bellows.

Estela conversing with a visitor
from the United States

A closer look at the niches of
the saints in the façade.

Upper part of the façade of the Church of San
Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya, with twin bell towers
and  niches for statues of saints.

Side alley of San Jeronimo

This archway was part of the original convent.

Another view of "capilla de pozo", or corner

The Tlacochahuaya is not only
beautiful, but fills the church,
which is famous for its acoustics.


The chorus loft also has a lectern or music stand.

Choir loft, after organ concert.

Ceramic floor times.

Estela standing at the entrance
of the 5-arched Pilgrim Archway


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