Treasures of The Library of Orfeó Català



The selection of important manuscripts shows the intense output of the greatest Catalan composers of the 17th and 18th centuries: Joan Pau Pujol, closely connected to the cathedral of Barcelona, and Miguel López, to the Escolania of Montserrat.


Passions of Joan Pau Pujol (1570-1626)

Joan Pau Pujol. Passions [Manuscript 9 of the Orfeó Català]. Early 17th century. Manuscript music, 37 f. (40 x 29 cm)

Passions of Joan Pau Pujol (1570-1626)

This manuscript contains the music of the Passion according to Saint Matthew and Saint Mark, each preceded by a Sanctus for Palm Sunday, as well as the Passion according to Saint John and Saint Luke.

This polyphonic music in four voices is presented in choirbook, or lectern format: the two highest voices are on the left page (generally using C1 and C3 clefs) and the two lowest voices on the right page (generally using C2 and F4 clefs). The rare interventions of soloist voices are clearly indicated, particularly that of the servant (Ancilla, C2 clef) with the words “Et tu cum Jesu Galileo eras”. It is worth noting that, in this passage, the intervention of a second servant is added (Ancilla secunda), also a soloist, at the foot of the page. An indication to slow down in the word “largo” (or “lar” in its abbreviated form) can be found on the three occasions in which the liturgy of the Passion demands a special reverence: “Flevit amare”, “Alios salvos fecit se ipsum non potest salvum facere” and “Emisit spiritum”. These emphasize the feeling of abandonment and the depth of Christian sacrifice.

Joan Pau Pujol (Barcelona, 1570 – 1626), a leading composer of the Spanish polyphonic school, was the singing teacher of the Cathedral of Tarragona and, as of 1595, of Zaragoza, before becoming maestro de capilla of the Cathedral of Barcelona in 1612. The majority of the compositions of Joan Pau Pujol preserved today are from this last period. Notably, his most important contributions are thirteen polyphonic Masses, numerous motets and psalms, nine passions and some thirty villancicos.

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