Listen all tracks :
|01. Intro/Pase el agoa (0:30)||0.49|
|02. El fuego (18:37)||0.49|
|03. Folia I - II (3:37)||0.49|
|04. Dexa ya tu soledad (3:39)||0.49|
|05. Recercada VIII-IV (3:31)||0.49|
|06. Pase el agoa (1:23)||0.49|
|Juan del Encina|
|07. Cucu, cucu (1:58)||0.49|
|Antonio de Rivera|
|08. Romanza española (1:52)||0.49|
|09. Recercada I-II (4:27)||0.49|
|10. Teresica hermana (2:17)||0.49|
|11. Al alba venid (3:11)||0.49|
|12. Corten espadas afiladas (2:42)||0.49|
|Juan del Encina|
|13. Triste España sin ventura (3:08)||0.49|
Total Time 51:00
“El tañer con el cantar, concordes en alabar.” (Instrumental playing and singing join as one in praise.) Mateo Flecha.
In the sixteenth century (justly called the "Golden Century"), Spanish musical life was closely connected with the creative output of the chapels, and especially the chapels of the courts, because it was in the chapels that music played a dominant role. Their repertoire, and that associated with the signorial courts in a wider sense, is preserved in collections known as cancioneros.
What we present on this disc is based essentially on secular polyphony, with texts in Castilian. There is a stark contrast, however, between the quantity of known cancioneros in the secular sphere and those contained in the sacred polyphonic repertoire. It is obvious that the composers of this century had more affinity with sacred polyphony and indeed some of them, like Victoria and Morales, devoted their whole output to this sphere. It may well be that secular music was retarded in its development and spread in the Spain of that epoch by the limited extent of patronage and of musical publishing.
“El músico contempla en la especulación de la música.” ( The music-maker meditates making music.) Juan del Encina.
Juan del Encina (1468-1529), poet, playwright, composer, and indeed a controversial figure, developed a remarkable national style during the period of the Reyes Católicos (1474-1516). The greater part of his work is found in the Cancionero Musical de Palacio, published by Barbieri in Madrid in 1890. With no affiliation to any chapel and writing no sacred music, he produced an output of great significance to our understanding of secular music and of Spanish musical theatre. While sensitive to the aesthetic preferences of his epoch, he cultivated a variety of forms of poetry; but it was above all in the courtly chanson, the romances and the popularly-inspired villancicos that he reached the peak of lyricism and succeeded in fusing the "learned" and the popular, far surpassing his contemporaries in this respect.
Mateo Flecha (1481-1553) started in the service of the court of the Duke of Calabria. He became best known for his ensaladas. The majority of his works can be found in the Cancionero del Duque de Calabria (Venice, 1556). Later he was connected with the chapel of the daughters of the Emperor Felipe II (1527-1611). His ensaladas have come down to us though their publication in Prague in 1581 by his nephew, Mateo Flecha el Joven, also a musician.
A native of the Extremadura, Juan Vázquez (1510-1560) lent to secular polyphony an elegant and expressive simplicity that he drew from popular melodies. Taking the madrigals of Italy as his model, he transformed the old villancico into a "Castilian madrigal". Even some years before the publication in Seville in 1560 of his Recopilación de sonetos y villancicos a quatro y cinco (A collection of sonnets and villancicos for 4 and 5 voices) his music had assumed an important place in Bermudoss of counterpoint in music for violone), published in Rome in 1553, he tells of the art of glosa (ornamented variation) on a melodic figure in the cadence and includes the Recercadas found on this disc. In that work he also teaches us how to play the viola da gamba in "discantus", setting out a simple harmonic series on top of which the virtuosic ornamentation unfolds.
“La letra es el anima de cualquier compostura.” (Words form the soul of every composition.)" Miguel de Fuenllana
The villancico was one of the most widespread genres in Spain between the 15th and 17th centuries. Originating from the mediaeval virelai and already found in the Cantigas de Santa María of Alfonso el Sabio, its uniqueness lies in alternation and repetition between its stanzas and a couplet, both of these elements being based on the same rhythmic and melodic motif. The words of the villancicos refer to courtly love and to misfortune (Al alba venid), to comic subjects (Cucu, cucu) and to everyday events of the times (Pase el agoa). In many of the cancioneros all the compositions are listed as villancicos, even the canciones (chansons). Formally, these two genres have a common structure. Yet the canción (Dexa tu soledad) differs in its number of stanzas, the subjects it deals with and in its use of expressive devices (repetition of the theme in fragmentary imitation, use of a cantus firmus). Time has gradually blunted the differences between these two musical forms.
The romance was very much in vogue in the 15th century, though a little less in the 16th. It takes the form of a long narrative poem with 4 lines per stanza, with each one allied to a distinct musical phrase, and each syllable attached to a note (Romanza española). The repetitive structure fulfils the need to underscore the meaning of the text. The setting of narrative poems to music has had a long tradition in Spain and has contributed to our knowledge of mediaeval Europe in a wider sense. In interpreting romances, ornamentation was de rigueur, and the performer sang or played variations, especially in the cadences (Triste España sin ventura).
The ensaladas (El Fuego), as their name suggests, are a mix of different "ingredients". Sebastián de Covarrubias wrote in 1611, " just as in a salad we combine different vegetables, salted meat, fish, olives (...) we've given the name ensalada to a genre of chanson having different metres (...) and from the oldest masters of this form there have been many excellent ones, like el molino, la bomba, el fuego, la jsuta, etc...". The ensalada's uniqueness lies in its use of a range of metres, the alternation of polyphonic and homophonic textures, the use of different languages and, above all, the juxtaposition of secular and sacred forms within the same work (Corten espadas afiladas). This is a genre that is pre-eminently Spanish and based on popular songs from the times. Their words deal with the Nativity, told through the use of moral allegories.