Session 2 (Free Papers): 16th-century Iberian polyphony

Monday, 5 July 2021, 14.30-16.30, Room A209 | Chair: Emilio Ros-Fábregas (CSIC-Spanish National Research Council, IMF-Institució Milà i Fontanals of Research in Humanities, Barcelona)

Tarazona 5: A reassessment | Kenneth Kreitner (University of Memphis)

The manuscript Tarazona 5, at the cathedral of Tarazona in Aragón, has thus far had only a minor role in our understanding of Spanish church music in the Renaissance. It combines portions of three preexisting manuscripts, of which two are (mostly) in the same hand and share some paper; these have traditionally been dated to 1517–21 because of the presence of music by Juan García de Basurto, who served at Tarazona cathedral in those years. But a closer look at the music’s style and some hitherto unexplored concordances suggests a later date, almost certainly the 1530s or 1540s. The third part is later still, probably from the 1550s or 1560s, very possibly produced locally.

The new dates put us in a position to reconsider some aspects of the manuscript and its music: the original purpose and character of the three sections, the light they shed on two sixteenth-century inventories of the library (and the light the inventories shed back), the possibility of lost manuscripts that were part of the same project, the veracity of the several attributions to Peñalosa, and the role of small, anonymous polyphony in the life of a provincial cathedral.

Musical influences on the masses and motets of Cristóbal de Morales and Francisco Guerrero: A statistical approach | Cory McKay (Marianopolis College) & María Elena Cuenca (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Along with Tomás Luis de Victoria, Cristóbal de Morales and Francisco Guerrero were the major sixteenth century Spanish composers of polyphony. Morales was broadly active during the first part of the sixteenth century (serving in the cathedrals of Seville, Avila, Plasencia, Toledo and Malaga, and holding the positions of papal cantor to Pope Paul III and chapel master to the Duke of Arcos in Marchena), while Guerrero mainly stayed in the cathedral of Seville, while also enjoying prebends in Toledo and Jaen, and traveling extensively in Portugal, Italy and the Holy Land.
The stylistic relation between these two Spanish composers and certain French- Flemish composers has been investigated in the literature. However, their work may also have been influenced by Spanish composers from previous generations (such as Francisco de Peñalosa, Juan de Anchieta and Pedro de Escobar, among others), resulting in an intergenerational transmission between Iberian composers. The aim of this paper is to explore the musical similarities and differences between the masses and motets of Morales and Guerrero, through a statistical comparison employing the Symbolic software and machine learning techniques. We also use this digital methodology to compare the works of these two composers with those of Spanish and Franco-Flemish composers of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, in order to investigate the respective degree of intergenerational transmission from both traditions that may have influenced the styles of Morales and Guerrero.

Philippe Rogier and the “Spanish polychoral dialect” | Rachel Carpentier (Boston University)

Noel O’Regan helpfully speaks of “dialects” of a pan-European polychoral idiom. The Iberian polychoral dialect has been the object of considerable study in recent decades, and its close relationship with the Roman dialect established. But while Victoria undoubtedly played an important role in both the development of Roman polychoral style and its transmission to Spain, he surely could not have done so single handedly, as Anthony Carver noted some decades ago; further, the earliest Iberian polychoral works are far from uniform in style.

Philippe Rogier, chapelmaster to Philip II from 1588-1596, is already recognized as an early and important exponent of the Iberian polychoral tradition, but a thorough analysis of his sacred polychoral music reveals a broad stylistic inheritance. Although these works number only seven, a variety of polychoral “dialects” can be detected among them. These conform with what we know of Rogier’s style and influences: the early polychoral experimentations of Northern composers were known at the Royal Chapel, two of Rogier’s polychoral psalm-motets have conflicting attributions to a contemporary Roman composer, and the works of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli numbered among Rogier’s personal music collection. Clearly Franco-Flemish, Roman, and Venetian polychoral dialects all counted among Rogier’s influences, and aspects of each may be heard in his sacred polychoral works. Such diverse stylistic influences enrich our understanding of the early development of the Iberian polychoral tradition. This paper also reconsiders the context and function of polychoral sacred music in the orbit of Philip II.