Some 14 years ago I wrote an extensive article and analysis of the Iberian repertoire for keyboard instruments from ca.1530 up to 1712, ie the death of Juan Baptista Cabanilles, for the RCO Yearbook 2001-2002, since when chapters on the repertoire have been included in at least two recent books on the keyboard music of the 17th century, but despite there being a good number of modern editions offering either selections or what is claimed to be the complete output for keyboard instruments of many of the leading Iberian composers of the 17th century, this extensive repertoire still remains very little heard either in recital or during/after the service. Several anthologies including a good selection of pieces have also been published, with introductions of varying thoroughness on matters of performance practice, including rhythmic alterations as documented by Santa María, and Correa, and the complex nature of ornamentation which was described with varying degrees of clarity in treatises by Bermudo (1555), Venegas de Henestrosa (1557), Santa Maria, (1565) Hernando de Cabezón (in the introduction to his edition of 1578 of his father Antonio’s keyboard works), Manuel Rodrigues Coelho (1620), Correa de Arauxo (1626) and Nassarre (1723-4), but sadly many of these modern anthologies are now out of print, however facsimilies of the treatises are available for those who are able to read the original Spanish or Portuguese. Understandably, almost all of the in depth articles surveying aspects of Iberian composers or instruments have appeared only in Spanish or Portuguese language Journals, making fluency in the languages a pre-requisite for keeping abreast of the latest scholarship. My original article was oriented towards a description of sources, in this article the focus is on the composers and their compositions.
After the flurry of printed editions of works for keyboard in the 16th century, including publications from Portugal by Gonçalo de Baena in 1540 and from Spain by Venegas de Henestrosa in 1557 and Hernando de Cabezón in 1578, and the four plainchant settings and nien tiento-like compositions included in Juan Bermudo’s Declaración de Instrumentos Musicales of 1555 and the Fantasias included in the Arte de tañer Fantasía by Tomás de Santa María in 1565 as examples to which ornaments and divisions were to be applied, the 17th century was particularly barren for publication of keyboard works in the Peninsular, only two volumes being printed, the Flores de Musica by Manuel Rodrigues Coelho in Lisbon in 1620, which included 24 extensive Tentos (three on each of the eight Tones), four settings of the Lassus piece Susana un Jour, and a comprehensive set of Versos, some of which include a vocal part all in score for each voice, and the Facultad Orgánica published in 1626 by Francisco Correa de Arauxo which contains 69 pieces including 62 Tientos and seven Hymn or Canción settings in Spanish number notation. No further keyboard music was published in Spain until the Seis Fugas para órgano y clave by Juan Sessé y Balaguer in ca. 1773, or in Portugal until the 12 sonate per cembalo by Francisco Xavier Baptista in ca. 1760.
In this overview of the repertoire of the 17th to the mid-19th century I would like to draw readers’ attention to the main composers, and include reviews of available modern editions and to offer brief comments on some of the salient features of the compositional genres, instruments, and other aspects which seem to have been confined to the Peninsular. With the exception of the mercurial and at times irascible Correa de Arauxo who worked in Seville, Jaén and Segovia, the great majority of the Spanish composers featured worked in Aragon, mainly Zaragoza, or Valencia, with a few at El Escorial. A further series of articles on and reviews of compositions of the 18th century will be published in future issues of The Organ. I propose commencing with the Spanish composers from Sebastián Aguilera de Heredía whose dates straddle the later 16th and the first quarter of the 17th centuries, since he can be regarded as the founding figure of the Aragonese school which had a major impact on the succeeding composers of the 17th century; the two printed sets of pieces by Manuel Rodrigues Coelho of 1620 and Francisco Corea de Arauxo of 1626 will be discussed along with modern anthologies of the Spanish and Portuguese MSS repertoire in part II of this article. Regrettably an article such as this can only mention briefly Juan Baptista Cabanilles, organist of Valencia cathedral throughout his working life and undoubtedly the greatest of the 17th century Iberian composers, who left some 200 Tientos as well as Diferencias or variations, Tocatas and Batallas most of which are now available in modern editions – some nine volumes to date - and almost 1,000 Versos of which only around 10% are available in modern editions.
Of the Iberian repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries, apart from a number of the Tientos and the great majority of the 900 odd Versos by Cabanilles, relatively little up to the death of the great Valencian master in 1712 remains unpublished, the main exceptions being pieces from Oporto MS1577 (now MM242) ca. 1710 (including the Fabordones of Martín García de Olague, the Obras and numerous Versos of Bartolomé de Olague), four of the five extensive Medio Registros by José de Perandreu in the Escorial MS LP 30,Antonio Tormo’s numerous Versos and Martin y Coll’s own pieces including the reams of versos from his MS of 1709, as well as some of the more substantial pieces included in his four -volume compilation of some 1,760 pieces (mainly versos but including ca.100 Tientos, some of which have been identified through being preserved in other sources which include attributions and several sets of diferencias) entitled Flores de Música 1706-9 (in addition to the pieces edited by H. Anglés in the four-volume anthology published by the Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya there are at least ten volumes in modern editions from five different publishers, including much duplication). In Spain the overwhelming majority of the MSS relating to the 16th-17th century repertoire is preserved at the Biblioteca de Cataluña, Barcelona, with others being kept at the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, the cathedrals at Jaca and Astorga, and the Biblioteca del Monasterio del Escorial. In Portugal MSS are kept at the Biblioteca General, Coimbra University, the Biblioteca Municipal, Porto and the Biblioteca Pública, Braga. A full description of the sources is to be found in my article in the RCO Yearbook 2001-2., apart from Correa’s publication of 1626 the only other complete source in cifra is MS1577 at Oporto, with the opening section of Martin y Coll’s MS1358 also being in cifra, the others being in keyboard score with a separate stave for each voice, apart from the rest of the Martin y Coll MSS which are written on two staves.
As the titles of Iberian works offer considerable information to the player as to the type of composition, and occasionally registration, some notes follow to assist the non-Iberian speaker to understand this information. It may also be opportune to remind readers about the divided registers which are such an important element in the Iberian Organ, especially for the great majority of instruments with only one manual, and point out the difference between “Medio Registro” which refers to a stop which functions over half of the keyboard only, i.e. Corneta in the treble and Bajoncillo in the bass, and “Registro Partido” in which the pipes relating to the compass up to c’ and from c♯’ have their individual stop-knobs on either side of the console. To use the rank over the full compass it is necessary to draw both knobs. According to Jesús ángel de la Lama in El órgano barroco español vol 1 p 249 ff., the first instrument with a “Medio Registro” for which records survive was constructed by P. Serrano in Valencia in 1547, (this was an exception in being on a two manual instrument) and the first with a Registro Partido by G. de Lupe in Zaragoza in 1567. In 1579, the Jorge organ in Seville cathedral was built with all its registers divided, but this was an exception, the majority of Provinces adopting this scheme in the early 17th century. It should also be remembered that the batteries of horizontal reeds were a product of c1695 onwards, the normal scheme being 8+4+2 in the LH and 16+8+4 in the RH. Before then J. Echevarría was apparently the first to place a single Clarín (for the treble only) horizontally in 1659 in Alcalá de Henares. Although suggested registration lists have survived in a few places, very few Iberian pieces include registration either in the title or within the piece itself, Correa being the first to include comments on registration within his print of 1626.
The term Tiento (Spanish) or Tento (Portuguese) is a generic term, used both for pieces which are imitative and also for pieces which are homophonic, closely approaching the Toccata in conception. Some pieces by Jiménez and Cabanilles in such a style are subtitled Sin Paso. The term Phantasia is sometimes used by Portuguese composers to denote non-imitative works, as in the pieces by Pedro de Araújo on the 4th and 8th Tone. The Tiento/Tento or Obra (terms which appear to be synonymous, given that the same piece may be entitled Tiento in one source and Obra in another) can be subdivided into the following basic types; the word Tiento may or may not be present in the title.
Falsas: a slower moving, quiet piece with suspensions and dissonance, similar to the Italian Durezze e Ligature. This term is first used by Sebastián Aguilera de Heredía, and there is a Ligaduras para la Elevación in MS 1357, the term Elevación being synonymous with the Italian Elevazione, indicating that the piece was to be played at the Elevation of the Host during the Mass. This title does not appear in the Portuguese sources.
Lleno(Cheio or Chão in Portuguese) : A piece which uses the same stops over the whole compass of the keyboard, identical stops being drawn for treble and bass. The stop called Lleno, which is a mixture stop of up to 8 ranks of the Flautado family, may well be drawn, but the term does NOT carry the same implications as Organo Pleno.
Partido or Medio Registro(Meio registo in Portuguese): A piece which requires separate tone colour for each hand, this term being further qualified by Alto/Tiple/ManoDerecha for right hand or Vajo/Baxón/ManoIzquierda for left hand to indicate the voice carrying the solo. Because the registers were divided at c’/c’♯, some pieces, including some by Aguilera, Correa and Jiménez, are impossible to play on undivided keyboards (i.e. on the great majority of instruments outside of the Penisnsular) because of the intervals between parts. However, because either the solo part or the accompaniment as written exceeds the available compass, some Tientos Partidos would have been playable only on 2 separate manuals in Spain itself. Several pieces were composed for either 2 trebles (tiples) or 2 basses (bajos (baixos in Portuguese)), the earliest surviving being by Correa for treble and Aguilera for bass. A few Tientos Partidos contain sections in which the solo register takes over two voices for the second part of the piece – examples include Bruna (2 dos tiples, one of which is in Porto MS 1577, 2 dos bajos) and Cabanilles (3 dos tiples, 2 dos bajos). If Portuguese composers required such effects, the pieces have not survived. Very occasionally the precise stop to be used is included- most frequently Clarín.
Tiento de Contras: A piece which contains long held pedal notes, over which the figuration unfolds, normally played as a lleno. Cabanilles left 7 examples, and San Agustín one, combining partido with contras (Partido de mano derecha con contras Tono 8 in Barcelona MS 1011 at f. 73). No such pieces seem to have survived from Portuguese composers.
Batalla (Batalha in Portuguese): The first piece of this genre to survive for keyboard in Spain is the Tiento XXIII by Correa de Arauxo which he describes as being “on the first part of the Batalla by Morales”. This piece of 298 bars sets the pattern for others, including an imitative opening, homophonic sections, and lots of echo effects. Such pieces are normally on the 6th Tono, but in MS 964 at Braga, The Modo de Batalha com suas tréguas (The Battle piece with its truces) is unusually in the 2nd Tone. There are two pieces subtitled “Famossa” (Spanish) or “Famoza ”(Portuguese), but there is no similarity between them. The Spanish one, found in MS 1357 of the Martín y Coll collection, is multi sectional, with “dos clarines” being specified. Parts are headed “llamada” and “arma” and although its 343 bars show a marked decline in compositional skills from the pieces by named composers, it does depict successfully the hurley-burley of a battle field not too dissimilarly than William Byrd a hundred years or so earlier! The genre was continued well into the 18th century, with examples by Vicente Rodríguez, Cabanilles’ successor at Valencia.
The final part of the title indicates the Tone or Mode in which the piece is written, indicating the accidentals one would expect to find. The mediaeval classification of the 8 Tones, dating back to Cicero, aligning them with specific planets and heavenly bodies and therefore taking on the appropriate character is still mentioned in Nassarre’s Escuela MusicaM 1723, (Part I, Chapter XVIII pp. 75-80). Occasionally the piece retains the inherent characteristics of the Mode, but is transposed either up a Tone, or down a Tone, i e Quinto Tono Punto Alto which represents C major, a step higher, ie. D major, is presented with a key signature of 2 sharps. Only Correa de Arauxo uses the extra four Tones added during the Renaissance.
The following section deals with Spanish composers opening with Correa de Arauxo’s print Facultad Orgánica and followed by composers whose works have survived in MSS and which have been published in modern editions devoted entirely to the composer(s), excluding those composers whose very small number of pieces are included only in anthologies, which will be discussed in part II of this article.
Francisco Correa de Arauxo: Libro de Tientos y discusos
Francisco Correa de Arauxo was born ca 1584 in Seville, becoming organist at San Salvador in 1599, moving to Jaén cathedral in 1636 and Segovia cathedral in 1640 where he died in 1654. His monumental publication in Alcalá de Henares of the Facultad Orgánica of 1626, which carries on the tradition of Cifra or number notation used in Venegas de Henstrosa’s and Hernando de Cabezón’s publications of 1557 and 1578 respectively, each voice having its own single line on the stave, is not only the sole publication of keyboard music in Spain during the 17th century (post-dating Manuel Rodrigues Coelho’s Flores de Musica published in Lisbon in 1620) but is also an invaluable source of information on theoretical matters and also practical ones such as fingering, ornamentation and rhythmic inequality, although as was frequently the case in such treatises, the explanations do not always simplify the prolixity of the prose description, particularly in the case of the complex proportional notations used and the ornaments. For the first time in a Spanish print there are also comments on registration scattered throughout the volume.
Originally published in a modern edition in two volumes by Santiago Kastner, there have been two further modern editions this decade, with an edition in 3 volumes by Miguel Bernal Ripoll in 2004, and one by Guy Bovet for Ut Orpheus, Bologna in 2008 in either one volume of some 650 pages, or in no fewer than 11 volumes, of which the first contains the introduction. Neither editor has included the pieces taken from the handwritten appendix from the copy of the original in the Biblioteca de Ajuda which were included in Kastner’s volume II. The edition by Bernal Ripoll originally printed in 2005 has now been reprinted and includes a translation of Correas’ lengthy and most important introduction into English, an indispensable guide to those who cannot read 17th century Spanish. Correa himself graded his pieces in five levels (which surprisingly has been omitted in both the Spanish text and the English translation), but the print does not proceed in order of difficulty, commencing with a Discurso of the 4th grade. Bernal Ripoll points out that the Minkoff facsimile was made from an unclear copy with many characters not being reproduced, leading to several incorrect assumptions by editors and players.
Volume I contains the introduction, opening with a lengthy prologue in praise of Cifra after which Correa divides his comments into 17 headings, covering the harmonic language used including dissonances (the pieces are divided into four genera each genus having its own key signature) and the rhythms and proportions, each of which is then treated at greater length. He writes in point 14 that medio registro pieces for two solo voices should always be in five voices, not the four used up to then. Of great interest and value is point 11 which discusses how to play groupings of three, six, nine etc. notes when a 3 is placed over the groups – firstly evenly which is the easier way, secondly irregularly which is the more difficult but most commonly applied way, ie holding the first and hurrying the second and third, which occurs, a 2 over the notes implying they are to be played equally. There follows a series of chapters on the art of notating music in Cifra, including a lengthy discussion of fingering and of ornaments, the explanations of which do not offer clues as to whether they start on or before the beat; frequently they are indicated by the letters Q for Quiebro and R for Redoble, which appear throughout the print, and are here reproduced accurately, but also there are many examples of fully written out ornaments incorporated into the melodic lines. Correa also tells us when each should be used – and also should NOT be used. There is also the frequent occurrence of the hand, which seems to have been intended mainly to draw the player’s attention to a specific harmony or other facet of the individual piece.
The musical part in the first volume contains 20 Tientos and Discursos for undivided registers, of which the first 12 ascend by Tone or Mode from the 1st to the 12th. Of particular interest is the hauntingly beautiful no. 9 with a key signature of there sharps which opens as if in A, but concludes with an open chord of F♯. Tientos no. 13and 14 are in the first Tone, nos. 15-19 are in the fourth Tone and no. 20 is in the fifth Tone, these pieces being described (along with nos.21-24 published in volume II) as being easier than the preceding Tientos, which do indeed pose considerable technical challenges to the player with virtuosic passagework and complex rhythmic subdivisions.
The second volume contains Tientos 21-49, of which nos. 21-24 conclude the compositions on the eight common tones for undivided registers and that are “easier than the preceding ones” - at least according to the composer’s own classification.! No. 21 is mainly in quaver movement with a passage in 3/1, no. 22 contains semiquaver figuration and a very brief passage in seven quavers to the bar, no. 23 is based on the Batalla de Morales, the precursor of many such pieces in the next 200 years, the final section in 3/2 including seven versos, a concluding comment indicating that the theme can be played between the Versos to lengthen the piece somewhat. No. 24 is a “short and easy” piece, with quaver passages in each hand and a short section in triplet crotchets against semibreves – indeed a good piece with which to start learning the master’s style. These are followed by nos. 25-49, which are Tientos de medio registro, which the composer claims to be a celebrated invention very well known in Castille although not in other parts (of Spain, rather than Europe in general). These 25 four-voice pieces introduce the core of Correa’s art and contribution to the Spanish repertoire; in 15 of them the solo voice appears in the treble, in the other 10 it is in the bass. The length varies considerably from 99 bars in no. 35 to 201 bars in no. 30, all contain writing in predominantly quavers and semiquavers against longer note values, and an interplay of rhythmic variety between duple and triple time. In no. 31 Correa points out the sounding of a C♯ in the tenor with a C natural in the treble as an example of his Punto intenso contra remiso, or simultaneousfalse relation. No. 34 contains a 20-barsection in 7/2, specifically described as being in equal quavers. In no. 35 there is the very rare appearance of the 3+3+2 rhythm so popular with the Aragonese composers, and a comment about registration.
The third and final volume includes nos. 50-69, of which nos. 50-51 conclude the Medio Registro pieces for four voices, these two having the solo voice in the bass, which moves mainly with quavers as the shortest note value with a few semiquaver ornamental figures, no. 51 also including a short section in triplets, followed by 52-55 which are in five voices. No. 52 is for undivided registers, with passages including semiquaver figuration as well as passages in minims. Nos. 53 and 54 are for two trebles, no. 55 for two basses, all of which conatin a great variety of rhythmic patterns. Nos. 56 and 57 are also for two basses but are in only four voices. Nos. 58-61 are “de a treinta y dos numeros al compas” ie. containing demisemiquavers, the first two are Medio Registro with the solo voice in the treble, both contain triplets, the second one, longer and more complex in all aspects, also containing sextuplets marked with a 2 as well as groups of nine semiquavers to be played within the minim. The third piece is a Medio Registro de baxon with passages of quaver triplets in each hand. No. 61 is a setting of Lassus’ Susana with demisemiquaver passages in both hands against held chords, which concludes with crotchet triplets. Nos. 62-65 are pieces written in triple time, no. 62 being a Tiento in 3/1 for undivided registers with both duple and triple minim subdivisions, as is no. 63 a Medio Registro de Tiple, 64 is a setting of the Canción Dexaldos mi madre and 65 presents 16 Diferencias de Vacas, both of which are lengthy, elaborate and complex settings. No. 66 is a setting of the Canción Gaybergier by Crequillon again with plenty of rhythmic fluctuation between duple and triple rhythms, the final three pieces, each in triple time, are 67 the Prosa del santissimo Sacramento (for Corpus Christi), for which ten verses are set, 68 and 69 are settings of the Canto Llano de la Immaculada Concepción de nuestra Señora (known as Todo el mundo en general) with one and three Coplas or variations respectively.
Each volume is very clearly printed on stout paper. All of Correa’s signs such as a hand, the letters r and q are carefully positioned as in the original – unlike Kastner’s edition there is no possible solution to aid the player printed above or below the stave. One big difference to the Kasner edition is the retention of the original notevalues in the triple-time sections; whereas Kastner reduced the values to what may be expected today ie in bar five of the very first Tiento Kastner’s semiquaver setuplets are replaced by a group of six crotchet. This will take some getting used to for those of use brought up on Kastner, but it does offer a much closer glimpse of the composer’s intentions. There are full critical commentaries to each piece in the respective volumes; the editor has carefully collated the 13 extant copies. This edition is of exceptional merit in including a generally accurate English translation, although with a few curious renditions, of the preface, which should be required reading before tackling the pieces. There is also a translation of the comments added by the composer at the head of each piece describing salient points – these comments are gathered together at the start of each volume of the new edition, perhaps it would have been more useful to have them included with the respective piece. The editor’s criteria are fully explained, and the very full treatment of Correa’s Tempi, Time Signatures and proportions, an at times extremely difficult area in which modern scholars do not all agree, will be of immense value for the player to make his or her own decisions. It is a great pity that the majority of the pieces for divided registers cannot be played on an instrument without these, due to the way in which one hand frequently has to play notes belonging to both the accompaniment and a solo voice, so the first volume will be of the greatest use to the majority of players, who should not, however, be deterred from at least catching sight of the other volumes to understand the formidable influence of Correa on composers such as Bruna and Cabanilles who may well have been brought up on this print. Lacking are the Falsas and the monothematic tiento that progresses through rhythmic variation. The quality of the music is of the highest standard, unpredictable in its development with long sinuous melodic lines sometimes not dissimilar to Moorish melodic lines, and with many augmented chords and false relations it surprises even today. It deserves to be heard far more frequently than it is, and the study involved in attempting to unravel the at times seemingly intractable problems will bear much fruit.
Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia: Obras para órgano
Also edited in 2 volumes by Claude Gay for La Flèche as L’oeuvre d’orgue, Editions Gras, Paris and also by Willi Apel as no. 14 Spanish Organ Masters after António de Cabezón in the Corpus of Early Keyboard Music series of the American Institute of Musicology.
In addition to a collection of sacred vocal music containing 36 settings of the Magnificat, only 18 works for keyboard by Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia) ca.1561-1627), organist at Huesca from 1585-1603 after which he moved to La Seo cathedral Zaragoza, have survived, conserved in six MSS including LP-29 and LP–30 (formerlyMS2186 and 2187) in the Biblioteca of the Escorial, and other MSS in the Biblioteca Municipal Oporto, Colegio del Corpus Christi Valencia, MS450 in the Biblioteca de Cataluña Barcelona, and MS1360 of the Martín y Coll MSS in Biblioteca Nacional Madrid which contains four pieces with interesting variants. The wide ranging stylistic variety shows a true master of the craft who paved the way for the later giants of Spanish keyboard music Bruna and Cabanilles. The pieces comprise two Pange Linguas, two settings of the Salve Regina, a Discurso sobre Saeculorum, three Falsas, six Obras or Tientos for the same stops in both halves of the keyboard, three Registros Bajos (Apel calls them Vajos), or pieces in which the solo is in the bass, and one for Dos Vajos ie for two solo voices in the lh. There are three modern editions, of which the one edited by Willi Apel omits the Discurso sobre los Saeculorum, but has the advantage of also including pieces by the Peraza brothers, Bernardo Clavija and Eustachio Lacerna as well as Hernando de Cabezón.
The two Pange Linguas are in three voices. In one the chant is heard in the bass in long notes, the tenor moving almost note for note with it against rh figuration which includes triplets, and in the other setting the chant is in the treble against crotchet triplets and quavers in the other two parts. The Discurso sobre los Saeculorum in our voices opens imitatively, the chant being heard throughout, and in diminution in the last 20 or so of the 114 bars. The two settings of the Salve are based on the initial phrase of A-G♯-A, the first one being a fairly short imitative piece of 50 bars in four voices with the chant in semibreves, and the figuration not exceeding quavers, the second setting extending to 72 bars containing scalar semiquaver passages against held chords and several instances of the 3+3+2 quaver rhythms which were to become so popular in Aragonese compositions. The three Falsas, two on the fourth Tone and one on the sixth, the first pieces known to carry such a designation, are slow moving imitative pieces with only occasional appearances of quavers as passing notes in four voices with expressive suspensions and dissonances including augmented fourths, the second one on the fourth Tone working through two subjects which pervade its 138 bars (the first one on the Tone has 105 bars, while the example in the sixth Tone has 57 bars).
The six Obras, all in four voices, and almost all monothematic, include two on the 1st Tone, the first of which is based on one main subject, which is also present in the triple time section, and passagework is mainly restricted to quavers in this austere piece. The second piece opens with the Salve theme and also includes the augmented fourth, here ascending, although some entries have a perfect fourth. There is much semiquaver passagework as well as passages in quaver sextuplets which occasionally result in cross rhythms with alto crotchets. This piece is also found in the Martín y Coll MS, compiled perhaps a century later, with numerous variants, which make comparisons well worth the time spent. The Tiento de 4 Tono also includes the ascending diminished fourth in its subject. The opening section includes mainly quaver passagework, with the 3+3+2 quaver rhythms (note the simultaneous crotchet clash between C in treble and C# in tenor in bar 80!), before the triple time section which features the crotchet- minim rhythm and also oscillation between 3/2 and 6/4 before the minims are subdivided into triplets. In the final section in C time the subject appears in semibreves in the treble against quavers before a flurry of toccata-like semiquavers bring this expansive and well thought out piece to a close. The Obra de 8 Tone por gesolreut is a much shorter piece in mainly quaver movement and also includes crotchet triplets and quaver sextuplets; there is no triple time section. The Tiento de 8 Tono por delsolre is similar but finishes with a triple time section; the first section includes semiquaver upbeat ornamental runs, which also feature in the triple time section. This piece was also included by Martín y Coll in MS1360, again with interesting variants. The final piece, Obra de 8 Tono, ensalada,, is a veritable mixture of five sections, alternating C time with triple time. The first section is short with quaver passagework before a tripletime section, the first part of which is based on a dotted rhythm before echo effects in homophonically chordal writing. The following C time section is also predominantly chordal, and includes trumpet-like motifs in triplet arpeggios which lead into the final triple time section which incorporates ascending scale passages before echo chordal effects lead into the closing C time section based on quaver motifs before triplets and echo effects including the 3+3+2 lead into triplet chords and a brief semiquaver flourish over the subdominant chord and the closing tonic chord.
The four pieces for divided registers, entitled Registro Bajo are all for the bass, the first ones known for this disposition, three are on the 1st Tone, and open imitatively before exciting figuration commences. In the first one the 3+3+2 grouping is heard in both bass and accompaniment, sometimes together, and triplets occur with regularity, as do sequential figures based on repeated quavers and leaps, the closing triple time section containing cross rhythms between 3/2 and 6/4. The second piece contains similar runs and sequences, but not the irregular groupings, the predominantly C time being interrupted by a very short section in 3/2. The final piece for the bass is in C time throughout and also exploits virtuoso semiquaver passagework and quaver triplets in the bass. The piece for dos Vajos de 8Tono contains only a few semiquaver runs and proceeds mainly in quavers, but does include the 3+3+2 groupings, the central section in triple time containing examples of rhythmic echoes passed between the hands, while the final section in C time is unfortunately not playable without divided registers as the rh needs to include the tenor voice at times because of the distance between the parts.
Jusepe Ximénez: Obras para teclado
Jusepe Ximénez , also known as José Jiménez, 1601-72, was probably a pupil of Aguilera, becoming his assistant at La Seo and then succeeding him as first organist in 1627/8, remaining there until 1672, declining an offer to become organist at the royal chapel in Madrid. An older edition of the works of Jiménez edited by Willi Apel has now been superseded by this volume of some 225 pages which contains 25 works for keyboard that have survived by Jiménez (ca1600-72) who spent most of his working life as organist of La Seo, Zaragoza. They have been preserved in two MSS now in the Biblioteca of the Escorial of which LP-30 (formerly MS2187) contains some 20 pieces, and a further two MSS in the Biblioteca de Cataluña. His output can be divided into 10 Obras, nine hymn settings, four sets of versos and two sets of variations on the Folias. The stylistic influence of Aguilera pervades the collection and is enhanced and amplified.
Five of the non-liturgical pieces which open the volume are on the 1st Tone, three on the sixth and two on the eighth. The first piece is the Obra de primer Tono de lleno ie to be played on the same registers in both lh and rh. It is imitative, and in four voices, the opening subject, D-F-C#-D featuring the falling diminished fourth, which was also used by Cabanilles in a Falsas, which leads to some dissonances as well as false relations in the harmony. The second section presents the subject in triple time, with a striking dissonance of G in the alto against G♯ in the trble in bar 97. The much shorter second section is in triple time and concludes with a brief free coda of lh passagework in C time. The second piece is headed Sin Paso, and is a rich and rhythmically varied transference of the non-imitative Italianate Toccata to the Iberian repertoire with rapid semiquaver runs against semibreves in each hand, and instances of the 3+2+3 subdivision of semiquavers as well as quavers; the final section is rich in quaver sextuplets which offer intriguing possibilities of cross rhythms ie subdivisions into two or three.. The piece concludes with crotchet and quaver triplets passing between the hands. The appendix includes a fascinating version of this piece found anonymously in Martín y Coll’s MS1360, in which there are several important divergences which are well worth noting, including lh passages which were notated as two quavers followed by four semiquavers here notated as quaver semiquaver quaver followed by three semiquavers, ie a further occurrence of 3+2+3 – could this be perhaps evidence of a late application of Santa Maria’s rule about unequal notes??! The third piece is “de Tiple” ie with the solo voice in the treble and the accompanying voices in the lh, here varying between two and three, being played on quieter stops. Again there is rhythmic variety after an imitative opening, with triplet passages predominant and 3+3+2 rhythms before the short triple time section. The piece concludes in C time. The fourth piece is headed “Bajo” ie with the solo in the left hand against three upper voices, and the first section is again rhythmically varied, while the second section, in 3/2, proceeds in minims and crotchets. The fifth piece, “Bajo a tres” has two upper voices, in the opening section there is mainly quaver and triplet movement in the bass, a short burst of semiquaver figuration leading to the closing triple time section which merges into a coda in C time.
The first piece on the sixth tone is a Medio registro de Bajo, ie. with the solo voice in the bass against quieter accompaniment. The lh contains some rapid scalar passages in semiquavers against held chords, and includes passages in both crotchet and quaver triplets with passages in crotchet triplets in which all voices move together before the second section in triple time which concludes with cross rhythms between 3/2 and 6/4 before a brief coda in C time with lh scalar flourishes. The other two pieces on the sixth Tone, both included in the Escorial MS2187, are early examples of the Batalla, of which the first is considerably longer. This multi-sectional piece opens imitatively and includes sequential motivic writing before the second section in 3/2 at the conclusion of which we see for the first time the trumpet-calls that became typical of this genre. The following short C time section develops these calls, which are then taken up in the succeeding triple time section, with octave echoes featuring in the next C time section and in the triple time section before the final C time section develops sequentially with a brief burst of semiquaver figuration before the coda introduces a further example of the 3+3+3 quaver rhythm. The second Batalla is rather less complex, and repeated notes feature early in the first section as well as written out ornamental figures. The triple times section opens imitatively in 3/2 with emphasis on minim-semibreve rhthym, before a short homophonically chordal section in 3/1 leads to a short conclusion in C time.
The first piece is on the eight tone is “de Tiple”, with three accompanying voices, however the disposition of the voices makes this piece difficult to play on instruments which do not have non-divided registers, with the rh being required to play the upper lh voice in places. The imitative opening soon dissolves into semiquaver passages of mainly scalar figuration before the section concludes with rh quaver triplets The second section presents a variation of the subject in 3/2, with each minim further divided into triplets in the rh. The closing section returns to C time and includes more rapid scalar figuration. The second piece is a relatively rare example of an Obra de dos bajos ie with the two solo voices being in the bass. The lh figures are mainly in quavers, and there are passages of the frequently encountered 3+3+2 groupings in the rh. Triplet groupings of both quavers and crotchets occur in both hands as the piece progresses and concludes with a return to the more sedate movement before a scale passage for the lowest voice. Again this piece is difficult to play on instruments which do not have non-divided registers, for the same reasons.
Eight of the hymn settings are of the Pange Lingua, the first of which is in four voices with the chant in the alto, the remainder in three voices with the chant in the alto in two settings, in the treble in three and the bass in the other two. It must be remembered that the Spanish Pange Lingua is a tripartite form, and the opening section must be repeated. Complex tripletime rhythms may take the inexperienced player a while to get used to in the original notation presented here, whereas the older Apel edition’s use of halved note values does make these clearer. Four settings are in C, the others in D. The remaining hymn setting is of the Sacris Solemnis in four voices. Of the four sets of versos the first set is on the third Tone and comprises four versos with a chant in longer notes in the treble, alto, tenor and bass respectively, against which imitative counterpoint is developed. There are nine versos on the Himno de los Apóstoles on the fifth Tone, of which nos. 3-6 are very short, the others more extended with no. eight including semiquaver figuration. Four more extended settings follow on the Saeculorum on the sixth Tone, of which the final verso contains some semiquaver passagework and triplet rhythms; the chant is heard in the treble, alto, tenor and bass respectively as it is in the final set of versos which contain four on the sixth Tone which are also more extended with varied writing. The first set of Diferencias or variations on the Folias, one of the earliest known on this subject, runs to 112 bars, while the second setting contains 20 diferencias and extends to 244 bars; both are in 3/2 but the second contains more richly varied figuration.
Clearly printed in landscape format, this volume also includes a biography of the composer and compositional school to which he belonged, comments on the triple time meters used taken from Andrés Lorente’s treatise and a full critical commentary with details of sources, key signatures, original metrical indications and notation for each piece. A description of ornamentation described by Santa María and Correa is extremely useful, and of particular interest is the article on organs contemporary to Ximénez. Several pages of facsimiles show the problems faced by the editors to provide a reliable modern edition.
Música para órgano (Siglo XVII) 1-1 Fr. Cristóbal de Ssan Jerónimo, P. Pedro de Tafalla and P. Diego Torrijos
This volume (published in the series Maestros de Capilla del Monasterio de San Lorenzo el real del Escorial) contains the surviving keyboard music by three composers who worked in the Monastery of El Escorial during the 17th century, the pieces being contained in two large MS volumes, LP29 and LP30, dedicated to keyboard music by various composers including Aguilera, Jiménenz , Perandreu and Bruna, and one volume which contains only two pieces for keyboard by Torrjos amongst sacred and secular vocal music and rules and counterpoint exercises.
Of Cristóbal de San Jerónimo we know only that he took the habit in 1605, and three pieces for organ have survived, the first of which, a Tiento de 2 Tono por gesolreut is in four voices and moves in mainly seminbreves and minims with occasional crotchet or quaver passages in one voice. It closely resembles the style of the Falsas with its suspensions and dissonances including augmented chords; the first section closes in bar 58, the second section commencing in the following bar in the tenor. The second piece is entitled 8 Tono, Obra de todo juego, and is for the same registers in both halves of the keyboard. In 3/2 throughout, it may well be the second section of a longer work which has now vanished. Dotted minim-crotchet rhythms pervade the first part of the piece before minim-semibreve or equal minims take over. The final piece, entitled Tiento de Tonadas 8 Tono is also for the same registers in both halves of the keyboard and is in four sections not unlike Aguilera’s Ensalada. The opening C time opens imitatively soon figuration in the treble over held chords predominates, and the 3=3+2 rhythm enters in the second part of this section, which closes with repeated chords over minims and treble flourishes. The first triple time section opens with treble and bass a 10th apart before a bar of chordal writing, this pattern being repeated sequentially before rh patterns over long held lh notes which in turn yields to imitative sequential writing. The second C time section opens with repeated chords before imitative treatment of a motif introduced by semiquaver ornamental figures. There follow trumpet-like figures for the rh with some lh imitation but mainly long held notes; this could be played effectively on two manuals with solos reeds in the rh before the closing chordal writing again with the 3+3+2. The final triple time section also oscillates via hemiolas between duple and triple time and also stresses minim-semibreve rhythm.
Pedro de Tafalla (1606-60) is also known through only three pieces, the first, Tiento de 2 Tono de gesolreut, contains some more lively movement, including quaver triplets and semiquaver passages, than San Jerónimo’s similarly entitled piece. His next piece, Medio Registro Alto un Tiple de 2 tono is written for one solo voice in the rh against three voices in the accompaniment. The opening theme D-D-C-Bb-Eb-D was popular during the 17th century, here it soon dissolves into first quaver and then on its second appearance semiquaver figuration leading into a short section in which the rh is in 6/4 against 3/2 or 6/4 in the left hand – note the F♯ s sounded against the held F natural in bar 61. A short section of semiquaver passagework in C time leads to the next short triple time section which features hemiolas, before the following C time section is based on a chain of semibreve thirds in lh against quaver figures in the rh which, after a passage in triplets proceeds with more semiquaver flourishes and quaver figuration. The final triple time section switches between 6/4 and 3/2 before a final flourish of semiquavers in C time. The final piece, Tiento de 7 Tono de dos Tiples, presents the two solo voices in the rh, after the initial thematic presentation in long notes there is much use of dotted quaver-semiquaver rhythms, often in thirds in the rh, but also with held notes in upper rh voice against lower rh and tenor moving together. The triple time section contains an unusual passage in which the lower lh voice consists of repeated notes beneath rhythmic oscillation in the rh. The repeated notes also feature in the closing C time section, which is also quite varied rhythmically to make this a most satisfyingly enterprising composition, making us wish that more pieces from Tafalla had survived.
The short lived Diego de Torrijos (1653-91) left a large collection of sacred vocal music in addition to some 16 pieces in the MSS, of which four are Pange Lingua settings, two are Medio Registro Alto (one incomplete), two are Partido or Registro Vajo, one a Canción, six are Llenos and one is a set of Fabordones glosados. The first Pange Lingua is in three voices, with the rh carrying the crotchets over the lh semibreves and minims; it could be played as a treble solo with the accompaniment on a second manual since this ascends to middle F. The second setting contains quaver and semiquaver passages in the upper voice, while the third contains quavers as well as a triple time section. The final setting has semiquaver passages in the bass, with the two upper voices in semibreves and minims, and triple time sections in quavers. The third and fourth settings are fully written out rather than having the first section repeats indicated editorially. The seven Fabordones glosados en tiple, one for each of the eight tones (with one serving both the second and third tones) comprise elaborate passagework in the treble over held chords in the lower three voices for ca. 20 bars. Because of the layout of the voices these would be impossible to play on even a two manual instrument unless some bass notes were taken with the pedals. The first of the two pieces for solo voice in the rh, Medio registro alto de 2 Tono por gesolreut is in four voices, the opening statement covering 14 bars before the solo enters in mainly quaver movement with some semiquaver ornamental figures before a brief section in 3/2 before the opening theme is reappears in C time including quaver triplets. Some bars pose problems on even a two manual instrument, the upper lh voice straying into the middle octave, and with a stretch of a tenth to the lower lh voice this would be difficult. At bar 101 the MS breaks off, the piece being left unfinished. The second piece for rh solo, 2 Tono, medio registro a 3, Alto, is in three voices, and alternates C time with triple time sections, the former including semiquaver passages, the later rich with hemiolas. The second C time section also includes quaver triplets, which give a clue to the proportions of the final section which fluctuates between 3/3 and 12/8 in this edition before a two-bar coda. The first piece with the solo in the bass, Tiento de Octavo Tono partido, Vajo, is for four voices, Registro Vajo, the opening section again being quiet extensive before the solo voice makes its entry; after minims it soon launches into ditted rhythms and semiquaver passages followed by some disjunct quaver movement under syncopated chords in rh. This pattern occurs twice, being followed by a triple time section mainly in equal crotchets beneath held dotted minim chords, after which a two-bar coda in C time closes the piece. The second Registro Vajo, (in the 1st Tone although this is not included in the title), in C time throughout, again opens with slower movement before the semiquaver and quaver scalar runs in the bass against minim chords take over, a second section in which the dactylic rhythm appears at the start soon moves into a short passage of quaver triplets followed by scalar and ornamental semiquaver passagework in the bass beneath held semibreve or minim chords.
The Canción de 6 Tono por delasolre (ie in D major) is a lengthy piece, opening with chords linked by semiquaver flourishes, which soon settle into repeated chords including in semiquavers, sometimes in both hands together, sometimes against long held notes, before the triple-time section which is aloso conceived homophonically with more repeated chords before an imitiative section including hemiolas, the chordally inspired writing closing the piece; stylistically completely dissimilar to the Canciones preserved in the Oporto and Martín y Coll collections, but bearing a close resemblance to the Batallas preserved in these and to examples by Pedro de Araújo and António de Correa Braga in other Portuguese sources, on the appropriate reeds and full chorus this is a most exciting piece which would sound well at a festival. Two of the six Llenos are on the First Tone, the first Obra de 1 Tono de Lleno in two sections contains, after an imitative opening in longer notevalues, semiquaver figruation in the bass followed by a short semiquaver motif passed from hand to hand before slower imitative movement follows, which at bar 83 yields to quaver passagework, each hand a tenth apart before rhythmic patterns ensue and the section closes with a brief imitative passage. The triple time section includes semibreve-minim rhythms, including hemiolas, as well as equal minims and minim followed by four crotchets to make this interestingly varied. The second Obra de 1 Tono de Lleno opens with minim movement with just a few bars of quaver movement in the lh and semiquavers in the rh before the triple time section which follows the same pattern as in the first Lleno de 1 Tono. Four pieces are in the Eight Tone, the Eighth Tono de Lleno (no. 18 in the collection) is headed A priesa un poco (slightly quickly) and moves for almost all of its 263 bars in semibreve or minim movement; consisting of imitative development of several subjects it offers plenty of scope for imaginative application of ornamentation to bring it to life. The Tiento de 8 Tono por delasolre is in two sections, and opens with slower movement before quaver figures appear, the triple time section is based mainly on the minim-semibreve rhythm. The Tiento de 8 Tono (No. 13 in the collection) is a short piece in C time throughout, which soon moves into crotchet and quaver writing, with crotchet chords in thirds passed between the hands in an antiphonal effect before the piece concludes with semiquaver flourishes in each hand against held chords (which do not lie happily beneath the hands, suggesting the use of the pedals). Tiento de 8 Tono, no. 14, is a short piece in triple time throughout, perhaps the remnant of a longer composition, again with much use of the minim-semibreve rhythm as well as equal crotchets and minim followed by four crotchets.
The clearly printed edition in a generous font includes an extensive introduction on Spanish on the organs of the Monastery of El Escorial, the organ music in the archives, the composers, contents and critical comments on the transcriptions.
Pablo Bruna: Obras completas para órgano
Pablo Bruna (1611-79), known as the blind man of Daroca, where he was organist at the collegiate church of Santa María, left a relatively large corpus of 31 keyboard pieces covering all of the genres except diferencias or variations, including 20 Tientos, three sets of Versos, a setting of the Ave Maris Stella, seven settings of the Pange Lingua, with a further three pieces in the appendix. The most important predecessor of Cabanilles, both in quantity as well as in the quality and in some cases unparalleled complexity and taxing difficulty of his works, Bruna is well served by this excellent edition of some 300 pages in landscape format, and his pieces appear frequently in anthologies. The surviving pieces are preserved in numerous MSS with duplication between them; they are to be found in three MSS at the Bibioteca de Catalunya, Barcelona (MS729 has no fewer than 14 pieces), in two of the Martín y Coll MSS at the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, MS LP-30 at El Escorial (six pieces), in MS1577 at the Biblioteca Municipal, Oporto, and in the MS at Felanitx, Majorca. The three sets of versos include a set of six in four voices on the first Tone of ca. 15- 25 bars, the chant appearing in semibreves in the tenor in the first, bass in the second, treble in the third and fourth, and ornamented in the fifth (in 12/40 and sixth (in 3/2). In the set of six on the second Tone the chant is subjected to a greater degree of ornamentation, and there are more passages in semiquaver s. The fifth Verso is in crotchet triplets, the sixth in 3/2. Only three Versos on the third Tone have survived, all in C time and also with a greater degree of ornamentation. The first Verso on Ave Maris Stella is in 3/2 in mainly crotchet or minim + four crotchets movement, the chant appearing in the tenor, while it is in the treble in the second Verso which opens in 3/2 but with the possibility of several passages of six crotchets being divided into groupings of either two or three. The seven Pange Lingua settings open with one in 3/2 in three voices on the sixth Tone with the chant in the treble, followed by one in 3/1 on the fifth Tone por delsolre (ie. in D) a dos tiples, the chant appearing in the bass.The third setting is in the same Tone and in three voices in 3/2, the chant in the treble appearing over an insistent dotted crotchet –quaver rhythm which only occasionally yields to equal quavers. This is followed by a setting on the sixth Tone in 3/1 in three voices, the chant appearing in the tenor; the central bars include minim triplets. The next setting on the fifth Tone is also transposed into D and has the subheading partido de mano derecha the chant appearing again in the tenor. This is followed by an further setting in the transposed fifth Tone, in 3/1 in three voices, with the chant in the bass. The final Pange Lingua, yet again on the fifth Tone transposed, is in 3/1, in four voices with the chant in the tenor.
The 20 Tientos consist of three Falsas, one Batalla, four Llenos with the remainder being Partidos (different nomenclature is used for individual pieces, some being headed de mano derecha/izquierda, others de tiple/bajo), of which two are for dos Tiples, one is for dos Bajos, three are for one Tiple, two are for one Bajo, and the others containing sections for two voices carrying the solo part ie two for dos Tiples and two for dos Bajos, one of which is also designated al medio de ecos. Because of the quantity of these pieces, I shall restrict the commentary to salient features. The Falsas (on the first, second and sixth Tones) contain more passagework in quavers and even semiquavers than the earlier examples by Aguilera, but with several dissonances of major seventh/minor second. The four Llenos (two on the fifth and two on the sixth Tones) are spaciously extensive works, the first Tiento Lleno de 5 Tono running to 318 bars, and including two triple time sections, the first one switching between 3/2 and 6/4, the second one in 3/1 which moves seamlessly into 3/2 with crotchet triplets before a tightly wrought C time final section ends with some semiquaver flourishes. The second Tiento Lleno de 5 Tono, in C time only, is much shorter at only 122 bars with some 3+3+2 quaver subdivisions. The first Tiento Lleno de 6 Tono presents 242 bars sobre Ut re mi fa sol la ie the ascending hexachord used by Byrd, Bull, Frescobaldi, Fasolo, Froberger, and Cabanilles; it also appears frequently in the descending form. The first triple time section is in 3/2 with insistence on a four-crotchet upbeat followed by a minim, followed by the hexachords in crotchet followed by quavers, leading to the second triple time section which is in 3/2 with crotchet triplets, before the closing C time in which the movement increases to semiquavers. The second Tiento Lleno de 6 Tono runs to 254 bars and has one triple time section which opens in 3/2 and soon oscillates between 3/2 and 6/4 before a closing C time section in which semiquaver passages are found in each hand. These four pieces offer severe challenges to the player not only in digital dexterity but also in deciding on the proportions and tempo required in the different sections. The Batalla de 6 Tono, another extensive composition of 246 bars, is far closer in style to a Partido for two trebles, and can indeed be played like this on two manuals. In three sections, the first contains imitative treatment of motifs, interspersed with more homophonically chordal quaver passages in each hand; the rh has many such passages in thirds or sixths, sometimes over held notes on lh. The section closes with the long-delayed arrival of trumpet calls and 3+3+2 rhythms. The triple time section is in 6/4 throughout before the final C time section which opens with imitative writing mainly in quavers before a closing flourish of semiquavers.
Of the 12 Tientos for divided registers, two are for dos Tiples, including the Tiento de 2 Tono por Gesolreut sobre la letanía de la Virgen, one of Bruna’s most popular and anthologised works, which, although not specifically headed as being for two solo voices is clearly intended for such a performance. It consists of an unfolding sequence of increasingly complex variations in triple time covering 220 bars with much use of triplets. The shorter Tiento de dos tiples de 6 Tono is in two sections, opening in C time, the imitative writing soon giving way to rhythmic motivic development including 3+3+2 quaver groups, while the triple time section presents a rhythmic variant of the opening subject, mainly in equal quavers with only occasional crotchet relief. The Tiento de dos bajos de 6 Tono is a work of considerable extent – 331 bars- in there sections and again the first section includes motivic development including quavers in thirds in both hands. The central triple time section in 3/2 includes new material and the opening subject with more crotchet writing, including passages in tenths which are really playable only on one manual with divided registers. The concluding C time section poses considerable technical demands in its semiquaver figures in both hands as well as its rhythmic insistent motif. Further problems of layout are also encountered throughout the piece where the lh has stretches of tenths which would be easy on a short-octave bass. The Medio Registro Bajo (de 8 Tono) in four voices is a much simpler piece in structure, the opening consisting mainly of quaver figures in the bass, with the central triple time section switching between 3/2 and 6/4 before the closing C time section launches into crotchet and quaver triplets (a short section is in 6/4 but retains the rhythmic impulse). The Tiento de 5 Tono de mano izquierda is another simpler piece, with appearances of 3+3+2 quavers in the bass in the opening C time section, before the central triple time section in 3/2 and 6/4. The closing C time section includes semiquaver scalar rusn as well as more 3+3+2 quaver groups. The first Tiento de 1 Tono de mano derecha is in four voices and after the customary short imitative opening the rh includes varied rhythmic figures including quaver-two semiquaver dactyls, and quaver triplets before the triple times section in 3/2 with the minims subdivided into crotchet triplets before the final C time which closes with semiquaver passagework in the solo. The second Tiento de 1 Tono de mano derecha is another frequently anthologised piece the first section of which includes the 3+3+2 quavers over minim chords, the triple time section switching between 3/2 and 6/4. In the closing C time section much use is made of modulatory figures, with the possibility of the semiquaver figures themselves being subdivided into 3+2+3 or 2+3+3. The opening C time section of the Tiento de 1 Tono de mano derecha y al medio de dos tiples offers a kaleidoscope of rhythmic variety, with both crotchet and quaver triplets before the second rh solo enters in bar 115, with much use of the upper voices in thirds before the closing triple time section in 6/4 and 3/2. Similar in construction but vastly more complex in concept is the Registro alto de clarín de 8 Tono in which the second upper voice appears during the central triple time section. The closing C time section constructed on motivic imitation contains much dense writing. The extensive Tiento de 5 Tono de mano izquierda y al medio de dos bajos is in four sections contains semiquaver scalar passages in the opening C time section, as well as the 3+3+2 quaver groups, the first triple time section in 6/4 also contains semiquaver groups which necessitates a slower tempo than other movements in this metre. The second bass voice enters at the start of the following C time section, movement confined to quavers, apart from the very occasional ornamental semiquaver figures, before a triple time section in 3/2 with passages of six crotchets which could also be played in 6/4 and implicit hemiolas. The minim-semibreve rhythm common in Aguilera is also found more frequently here, as are augmented chords and dissonances arising from suspensions. A short coda in C time brngs this work to a close after some 330 bars. Finally the Tiento de 5 Tono de mano izquierda (y al medio de ecos y a dos bajos) opens sedately in mainly quaver movement, with an appearance of the 3+3+2 quaver groups against dotted crotchet + crotchet chords before semiquaver runs in the bass, before the triple time section in 6/4 with both quaver and crotchet triplets from the start before 3/2 with crotchet triplets takes over. The concluding C time section opens with figures echoed rhythmically rather than at the same pitch in an antiphonal manner; their not exceeding middle C implies a performance on the registers selected for the bass. The second part of this section contains the writing expected for a piece for two basses; again, there are a very few instances where a short octave is most helpful for the stretch of a tenth. It is a great pity that the pieces which Bruna wished to be preserved and had been corrected by himself seem to have vanished, but the pieces which remain testify to a genius in control of his medium and the leading composer between Aguilera and Cabanilles, and deserve to be played today – several of them would make excellent tests for FRCO and beyond.
Juan del Vado: Cuatro Obras para órgano
Antonio Brocarte: 4 Tientos para órgano
José Torellas: Opera per organo
All titles available from
Andrés de Sola and Sebastián Duró: Six Tientos
Andrés de Sola and Jeronimo Latorre: Versos para órgano
These five volumes are each devoted to 17th century composers, the great majority of whose surviving works for keyboard are contained in an MS written in Spanish number tablature and now preserved in the Biblioteca Nacional, Oporto under shelfmark MM42, but better known by its former shelfmark MS1577. It is probable that all the composers whose works have been compiled by the copyist of this MS were of Spanish, rather than Portuguese, origin, possibly with links to the Zaragoza area – other pieces by Pablo Bruna (of Daroca) and Aguilera de Heredia are included in it. Scholars have dated it between ca 1690-1710, ie broadly contemporary with the four volumes of the enormous collection compiled by Martín y Coll.
Juan del Vado is one of those composers whose dates of birth and death remain unknown, but are conjectured as before 1635 and about 1691. He was active as violinist and organist at Madrid’s Royal Chapel, his skills at execution being praised by several contemporaries. The four preserved pieces, entitled Obra in the MS, are all of the Lleno type ie requiring the same stops to be drawn in both treble and bass, and all are imitative. The first piece, Obra de Segundo Tono, is in two sections, the first containing three subjects which are worked consecutively. The first subject is in long notes, and is followed by a motif-like figure in quavers. The second subject is based on the falling augmented fourth, here with a passing note (ie Bb-A-F♯ -G). The third subject consists of a quaver figure, to which is added a short four-crotchet figure of an ascending tetrachord. The second section is in triple time, and uses the subject with the augmented fourth, with a further short figure in crotchets, which opens with a turn-shaped group, also appearing. The second piece, Obra de primer Tono, is also a moderately paced piece with the smallest note value being a quaver, passages in which occur firstly in the treble over held minims in the alto and tenor, and then in the bass beneath minims in the three upper parts, separated by slower moving passages. The final section is in triple time, and opens imitatively, but then develops with motivic imitation of the second part of the subject.
The final two pieces are both entitled Obra de lleno de primer Tono, the first one opening with a subject which includes a F♯, although when presented in the dominant the C remains a natural. There is a frequent use in this piece of semiquaver figures, some of which are written out ornaments, others, more extended, are developed sequentially as motifs, often against the longer note values of the subject. The piece concludes with semiquaver motifs passed between the hands. The final piece is the longest at 208 bars, and like the first piece, the fastest note value is a semiquaver which here occurs just a few times, again as a written out ornament, with extended passages in which quaver figuration, mainly in either the treble or the bass, occurs against minims. Both of these pieces are in C time throughout. The harmonic language in these four pieces is quite conservative and, lacking the dissonances of Correa, offers very few surprises.
Antonio Brocarte (1629-96), after spells as organist at Palencia cathedral and the Santo Domingo de Calzada, succeeded Correa de Arauxo at Segovia in 1655, which he left in 1661 to take up a position in Madrid, although after only a few months he returned to Segovia. From 1676 he resided in Salamanca. The first of the four pieces published here is entitled Obra de lleno de 1 Tono, and is a short imitative piece with a few passages in quavers in either the bass or treble to relieve the minim and crotchet movement; it may well have been used as a Tiento de falsas during the Elevation. The second piece, entitled Obra de 5 Tono, is in triple time throughout, and although of reasonable length it may just have been the second section of a longer work, the first section of which was not included in this MS. The buoyantly breezy subject, which covers a fourth, is worked thoroughly in the first section of the piece, with several instances of hemiolas. The second section opens with a quaver figure, and further quaver figures appear as written out ornaments, soon to be combined with the opening subject; this work alone should dispel any concept of the austere nature of all Iberian organ music. The final two pieces are for divided keyboard, the first entitled Registro alto de 2 Tono (ie the solo is in the right hand) is in three-voice writing and again makes use of the augmented fourth in its subject, which is followed by a short second subject in which the interval is now heard descending but with the passing notes filled in. The triple time section which follows commences unusually with a new subject, with further motifs being developed sequentially; there are several hemiolas and towards the end there is a suggestion of cross rhythms of 3/8 and 6/8, although given the carelessness of the copyist it is also possible of a scribal error. The final piece is entitled Registro de dos tiples de 7 Tono por E (ie the solo voices are the treble and alto, and the piece concludes in E, rather than the D usually found in this Tone) which follows a similar pattern of subjects and short motifs with the triple time section again introducing new material from the start as it proceeds for most of its length in equal crotchets. As with Juan del Vado, the harmonic language remains very largely consonant although there are several cases in the second subject of the Registro Alto of the simultaneous sounding of a semibreve F♯ or C♯ with a F or C natural as a crotchet passing note (Corre’as Punto intenso contra remiso).
Although hardly anything is known of the composer, a larger number of pieces by José Torrellas have survived, with ten being included in the modern edition. Three others ascribed to him in the MS include a Registo Baixo de 1 Tom which is by Aguilera de Heredia, a Batalla de 6 Tom, which is a version of a Batalla by José Jiménez, and a Registo Alto de 6 Tom de dois tiples which is a reworking of the Batalla by Pablo Bruna with several interesting variants of the accidentals, and a different second part of the piece, which makes it a pity that the editor has not chosen to include at least this section here. Of the ten included here, arranged by Tone, there are three Canciones, one Obra, three Registros Alto and three Registros de dos tiples.
The Canciones on the 1st and 8th Tones are chordally homophonic, attractively tuneful pieces in three voices, the one on the 1st Tone progressing serenely, with mainly crotchet movement with some dotted rhythms, the one on the 8th Tone having rather more mainly conjunct quaver movement, particularly in the treble in the final statement of the theme. The Canción de 6 Tono is much closer to the Italian Canzona, with its dactylic rhythm and imitative writing in four voices, again in mainly crotchet movement against the theme, with a flurry of quaver passagework against minims or semibreves in the final 7-8 bars. The Obra de 5 Tono is the only piece by Torrellas of the Lleno type, and is in three sections. The opening section has two subjects, the first is based on a short subject first presented in the bass, followed by tenor, alto and treble in stretto. A second short subject is introduced in bar 75, with quaver passagework not appearing until the short coda. The second section, in triple time, works through the first subject, and in bar 212 the piece returns to C time for a final section with yet another subject, intensely worked in crotchets and quavers.
The first Registro Alto de 1 Tono, in three voices, opens imitatively but the solo line very quickly develops in figurative quaver passagework, but after the 1st quaver in bar 18 the “solo” becomes part of the accompaniment before returning to the solo register in bar 21. The second Registro Alto de 1 Tono also in three voices again opens with imitative writing but the solo line soon dissolves into quaver figuration, before in its second appearance the imitation soon yields to sequential writing firstly in crotchets and then in quavers. A further motif is presented sequentially to close the first section. The second section is in triple time and presents a variant of the first subject, in dotted rhythm not dissimilar to the Canaris before right hand crotchet runs over held dotted semibreves. The section closes with an extended sequential passage in equal minims. The Registro Alto de 8 Tono is in just one section – possibly a triple time section was not available to the copyist. Again, after a brief imitative opening the rh soon moves into quaver passagework.
The first Registro de dos Tiples is on the 1st Tone and the second voice enters in the treble after the initial opening bars for the alto. Passages in thirds occur frequently, and in bar 56 a passage with closer writing for the two voices commences. A central section in treble time employs sequential motifs between the two upper voices and the third section is in crotchet and quaver movement and also sees the use of the 3+3+2 subdivision of quavers that was a feature of the 17th century Iberian composers. The final section oscillates between 3/2 and 6/4, with much use of thirds. This is followed by the Registro Alto de dos Tiples de 4 Tono which is in two sections, and is constructed on broadly similar lines, with much motivic imitation. The second section is in 3/2, with the opening bars presenting three voices imitatively in the accompaniment before the solo voices take over. There is extensive use of hemiolas before the metre changes to 3/1. The final Registro de dos Tiples is on the 8th Tone, and is also in two sections, the first section making use of motivic imitation between the upper voices while the second section in 3/2 employs quasi-echo effects before an extended sue of the dotted rhythm of the Canaris.
Andrés de Sola (1634-96) spent his working life at the cathedral of La Seo, Zaragoza, where his uncle José Jiménez was first organist. On the latter’s death de Sola became first organist, retaining the post until his own death. Two of the pieces are Registrs Alto de 1 Tono, both in three voices, with the solo voice in the right hand. Both open imitatively, the first containing rather more passagework in semiquavers than the pieces in the other volumes under review here, some being scalar, some resembling written-out ornamental figures. The second section, also in C time, opens with a syncopated figure, the piece closing with quaver passages before a coda in semiquavers. The second Registro Alto opens with a short section in C time which contains short motifs in quavers which continues without a pause into the lengthy second section in triple time much of which is filled with motivic sequential figuration in mainly equal notes over held dotted notes. The Obra de 4 Tono is of greater substance, being based on a Tiento de Falsas (a genre played during the Elevation of the Host and similar to the Italian Durezze e Ligature with its dissonances and suspensions) by Aguilera de Heredia. The central section is filled with chordal writing and passages in which quaver figures in the treble are heard over static minim chords in the other three parts.
The set of versos by de Sola is also taken from MS1577, and comprises 28 short pieces, four being set for each of the eight tones, with just one set for the second and third tone together. In each set up to the fourth tone each verso is in four voices, with the cantus firmus being stated in treble, alto, tenor and bass respectively against imitative writing of short subjects. The writing contains augmented intervals, false relations and suspensions producing dissonances is quite concentrated and intense, usually within 20 bars but sometimes rather fewer. The second verso of the first Tone also includes the 3+3+2 grouping. The versos on the fifth Tone are much shorter, and not chant-based, the first three being based on suspensions in stretto. The set on the sixth and seventh Tones are longer and again not chant-based. Those on the seventh Tone include versos for medio registro, the second, in three voices, for the alto, the third, in four voices, for the bass with a lively leaping subject. The fourth verso is in triple time. The versos on the eighth Tone conclude unusually on the tonic, the second having a quaver subject and the fourth having three upper voices against incessant quavers in the bass, which ascends to middle D; while this does not preclude a medio registro performance on two manuals, it does preclude performance on one keyboard with divided registers. The versos on the second and fourth Tone have been attributed to Jiménez in MS387 of the Bibliotecade Cataluñya, Barcelona, which raises the possibility that perhaps only the sets on the fifth to the eighth Tones are by de Sola, which could explain the considerable change of style in this group; certainly some attributions in the MS are dubious.
There are two composers who bore the name Jerónimo Latorre and this gives rise to much confusion about correct attribution of their respective works,. One died in 1672 after being organist at Barcelona and Valencia cathedrals, retiring from the latter in 1665 to be succeeded by Cabanilles. The other Latorre is somewhat later, and was de Sola’s assistant at La Seo from 1674-1677 before becoming the principal organist at the Pilar, Zaragoza, retiring in 1699. The twelve versos conserved in the MS at Jaca have been assigned to the latter composer by the editor,; they comprise nine short Versos on the Gloria de Dominicial, and only three on the Sanctus, sadly the two pages following are missing in the MS. The Gloria set opens with a predominantly chordally homophonic piece, followed by short imitative pieces mainly in crotchet movement with a few quaver passages, of which the third is in triple time, the fourth utilises the canzona’s dactylic rhythm, the fifth is based on a rhythm of minim-crotchet-quaver-quaver-dotted crotchet, and the sixth moves mainly in minims with written out trills in the two final bars. In the first and second versos on the Sanctus on the sixth Tone the chant, with the characteristic raised fourth (ie b natural) appears in long notes in each voice against crotchet and quaver figures with written out trills in varying formats, the second verso extending to some 27 bars. The third verso is a third of the length and is based on a short figure again with written out trills featuring strongly.
Sebastián Durón (1660-1716) was a pupil of de Sola, then spent time at Seville, Burgo de Osma and Palencia cathedrals before taking up a position in the Capilla Real, Madrid. However for political reasons he fled to France in 1707. Better known for his copious sacred and secular vocal music, his three pieces are all for divided keyboard, two of which are to be found in the Oporto MS. These are extremely interesting examples of the genre, with the same theme being treated in one piece in the right hand, in the other piece in the left hand. Both contain lengthy passages of quaver and, particularly in the registro for the lh, semiquaver passagework, with the second section in triple time, which like de Sola’s second Registro is mainly in equal notes against dotted notes. The Registro Alto de 4 Tono for the rh is in three voices, a third voice is added to the bass in the triple time section. The Registro Baixo de 4 Tono, for the lh, is in four voices throughout, the technically quite demanding solo voice containing some passages of oscillating octaves. The final piece by Durón , another piece with a solo in the lh, is found in the MS at Jaca cathedral, in which it is entitled Gaitilla de mano izquierda de 1 Tono, (other examples of this title are known by Gabriel Menalt and Juan Baptista Cabanilles) the accompaniment in the rh being in three voices. There is much sequential working of short motifs and scalar runs. The second section in triple time opens with the same theme as in the first section, which soon dissolves into fast runs and leaps not dissimilar to some of the contemporary French Basses de Trompette. There is also a brief of cross rhythms towards the end of this demanding but exhilarating piece. The comprehensive introduction is in French.
Pablo Nassarre: Tres Tocatas
Pablo Nassarre (1654/64-1724), blind from birth in Zaragoza, but achieving great contemporary acclaim as a first-rate organist (like de Cabezón and Bruna, his teacher, before him) was the leading theorist in Spain in the early 18th century, publishing extensive treatises in 1700 (Fragmentos Músicos) and 1723/4 (Escuela Música), both of which are available in facsimile. He left very few compositions for organ, and these are preserved only in two MSS; one containing a Tiento partido de mano derecha and two versos on the Sanctus is in Astorga cathedral, the other MS, from which these three Tocatas (sic) have been taken, is MS 1011 dating from the early 18th century and now in the Biblioteca de Cataluña, Barcelona The first piece is entitled Tocata Italiana de 2 Tono, and is in three voices; although not expressly entitled as such, the rh is probably intended as a solo (despite the sudden appearance of an additional tenor B♭ in the rh in the final bar of the first section. The first section in C time opens with brief imitation before the rh sets off in passages of semiquaver and occasionally quaver figuration. This is followed by a brief section in a dotted rhythm triple time (sometimes the rh and lh move together, sometimes the rh is over held notes) with repeat marks, probably applying only to this section, before a return to C time and a fairly short conclusion in a dotted rhythm triple time; this four-movement plan is most unusual in Iberian organ pieces of the period. The two sections in C time contain the comments Despazio and Arozo over the rh, a rare indication for the period. The second piece, entitled Tocata de 1 Tono, in three voices, is in three sections, the opening C time theme utilising dotted rhythms before semiquaver passagework takes over. A relatively lengthy central section is in triple time, again exploiting dotted rhythms before the closing section in C time. The final Tocata de 2 Tono is in two sections, opening in C time with a theme in which dotted rhythms appear throughout interspersed with semiquaver and even demisemiquaver passagework, the latter also appearing in the lh. The final, longer, section is in triple time and includes both even and dotted rhythms over a bass in which the motifs are introduced before reverting to long held notes when the rh enters.
Vicente Hervás, Juan de San Agustín: Tientos partidos
This volume contains three pieces for divided registers also taken from MS1011 in the Biblioteca de Cataluña, Barcelona. It opens with the two surviving large-scale works by Vicente Hervás, organist of Sueca, Valencia who died in 1745, by whom we know two Cantatas and three Villancicos, whose other organ works, not available as yet in a modern edition, include three Pange Linguas five sets of versos and two isolated versos all to be found in the same MS. Both in three voices, the first piece is a Tiento partido de mano izquierda, without designation of Tone, but it is on the 5th Tone one step higher ie in D. The opening figure comprises dotted rhythms and semiquavers and is far more lively than those in the other volumes reviewed here, attesting to a somewhat later date, quite probably contemporary with Vicente Rodríguez (1690-1760). The lh soon dissolves into Alberti-bass figuration in semiquavers, before a second theme based on quaver movement appears in the rh and is developed as a motif in the lh before semiquaver figuration takes over beneath crotchets and minims in rh at the close of which quavers in thirds appear. The second section is in triple time and has more animated rh writing in thirds in the opening but which soon yields to longer notes before a return to fast thirds. The lh makes much sue of a figure in which the 1
Juan de San Agustín is known to have been organist of the Real Convento de San Miguel de los Reyes, Valencia in 1679, and apart from the piece in this publication he left another short Tiento partido, four sets of versos, three Sacris Solemniis and an isolated verso on the fourth Tone in MS1011. The Tiento partido de mano derecha con contras de 8 Tono published here is in the form of two treble voices over long held notes in the bass, or “contras”, played with the pedals, or possibly also using one of the drum or toy bird stops for effect as well. The rh voices move mainly in thirds together in various rhythms, with plenty of passages of trumpet calls. The short second section is in triple time, and the bass follows the pattern of tonic, sub dominant, dominant until the tonic-dominant of the closing bars, beneath passages in thirds. This piece is a very long way removed indeed from the splendours if the golden age of 17th century Spanish compositions and, similar to examples by Rodríguez, shows an increasing awareness and growing absorption of the Italian style. The pieces are clearly printed with full critical commentary.
Each of these editions presents a clearly printed text, with the editors offering suggestions about applying accidentals, which the performer may choose to accept or to disregard, a few errors have clearly crept in, but the original MS was written most inexpertly in many places. All pieces entitled Obra or Lleno can be played on one manual with registration of a basic Diapason chorus with or without an 8ft Trumpet, while unless the player has divided registers at his/her disposal, the Registros will need a two-manual instrument, the normal practice of the time being to play the accompaniment on the flautados or diapasons, with the solo presented on a cornet, a louder combination of flues than the accompaniment, or on a trumpet. In a few places the bass, originally written for an instrument with short-octave, will need to be adjusted. The introductions offer concise information about the composers and their works, although only in the del Vado edition is there a translation into English. Whilst most of these pieces do not look over demanding on the printed page, the main difficulty in performing them authentically will be the addition of well chosen ornaments ranging from trills to improvised divisions on longer notes, which are essential to enliven further the figurations as well as to remove the static feeling of some of the slower moving passages. A further problem is the inconsistent presentation of the triple time sections as far as the notation is concerned, making it difficult to gauge the proportions required, so that the sections are neither too fast nor too slow. These volumes enlarge our knowledge of the later 17th century compositions from the Peninsular, and make interesting post-service voluntaries as well as concert pieces.
Back to Articles
© John Collins 2015