Treasures of The Library of Orfeó Català

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PRINTED MUSIC IN THE 16TH CENTURY

The richness of Spanish polyphony is also represented in editions that are rare (Tomás Luis de Victoria) or unique (Ensaladas of Matheo Flecha).

 

Las Ensaladas of Matheo Flecha

Matheo Flecha. Las Ensaladas… Recopiladas por F. Matheo Flecha su sobrino… con algunas suyas y de otros autores por el mesmo corregidas y echas estampar… Impressas en la ciudad de Praga : en casa de Iorge Negrino, 1581. Printed music, 3 parts (15 x 20 cm)

 

Las Ensaladas of Matheo Flecha

Las Ensaladas of Matheo Flecha

The sole copy, incomplete, of the publication produced in Prague (1581) by Matheo Flecha the Younger with a selection of ensaladas of his uncle, Matheo Flecha the Elder (Prades, 1481? – Poblet, 1553?), with other works by Vila, Cárceres, Chacón, and the editor himself. It covers the most important composers of a genre, the ensalada, that results from the skilful combination of various quotations – lyrics and music, together or separate −, many of which would be readily identified by a listener of the time. The majority have Christmas-related themes.

This edition has fourteen ensaladas as well as a madrigal. Some were already famous in the 16th century, such as La Justa or La Bomba by the elder Flecha, and the recent early music recovery movement has unveiled many of these pieces for the pleasure of present day audiences. The partbooks for the soprano, alto and tenor voices are kept in the Library of the Orfeó Català, while those for the bass are in the Biblioteca de Catalunya. The partbooks for the fifth and sixth voices are missing, which affect three of the ensaladas and the madrigal. The edition is dedicated to Juan de Borja y Castro, Spanish ambassador to the court of Austria, whose coat of arms, with the emblematic ox of the Borja de Xàtiva, is on the front cover of all of the partbooks. The seal mark shows that the manuscript was property of Mencía de Mendoza, the second wife of the Duke of Calabria.

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