Orejón y Aparicio, José de (1706–c. 1765)

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Orejón y Aparicio, José de (1706–c. 1765)

José de Orejón y Aparicio (b. 1706; d. ca. 7–21 May 1765), Peruvian composer and organist. Born in Huacho, Orejón was considered to be a child prodigy; at the age of nine he replaced an adult singer at the Lima Cathedral Choir. He was probably a pupil of Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco, the Lima cathedral's maestro de capilla, and studied organ with Juan de Peralta. After Orejón was ordained a priest, he became chief organist at the cathedral in 1742. Gifted with extraordinary technical proficiency and musicality, Orejón was named alternate maestro de capilla at Lima upon the death of Roque Ceruti in December 1760, becoming full maestro de capilla in 1764.

As a composer Orejón wrote in the Neapolitan style, with an affinity for Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's sacred works. His natural talent and excellent technical skills surpassed those of any other colonial composer born in the Americas during his lifetime. His most significant piece is the Passion [sic] del Viernes Santo (Good Friday Passion) for triple chorus and orchestra (1750). Written in a homophonic style, it has thirteen segments, with the voices moving in thirds and doubling. The Cantata al Santísimo Sacramento "Mariposa de sus rayos" for soprano, continuo, and two violins is in the baroque style. Among his duets are A del día, Enigma divino, and Jilguerillo sonoro. Although Orejón's compositions never reached Spain in his lifetime, they were widely heard in South America, reaching as far as the La Plata cathedral in Sucre (Bolivia). Orejón's works are kept in two archives: the Archivo Arzobispal de Lima and the Catedral de La Plata (Sucre). He was without question the finest composer in the Americas during the eighteenth century. He died in Lima.

See alsoMusic: Art Music .


Gérard Béhague, Music in Latin America (1979).

Robert Stevenson, The Music of Peru (1960); New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 13 (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Casares Rodicio, Emilio, ed. Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana. Madrid: Grupo Anaya Comercial, 2004.

Sas, Antonio. "Las investigaciones de Andrés Sas sobre la música de la colonia." El Comercio, Lima, (1954).

                                          Susana Salgado

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