Francisco Guerrero – Rennaisance Easter in Spain & Portugal
Cappella Romana performs the polyphonic motets of Francisco Guerrero in the April concert series Renaissance Easter in Spain and Portugal. Read a little background on this influential Spanish Renaissance composer:
Considered second only to Tomás Luis de Victoria as a Spanish composer of Renaissance church music, Francisco Guerrero published over 150 liturgical pieces and motets and 18 masses, and was the only composer to publish widely abroad while making a career in Spain. His music was widely performed abroad for centuries after his death, including the New World in Latin America.
Guerrero was also a prolific composer of secular songs. He drew from the many mid-16th century Andalusian poets such as Gutierre de Cetina and Baltasar del Alcázar, as well as the greatest Spanish dramatist, Lope de Vega. Guerrero also fit secular songs to sacred text which expanded his repertoire so much so that he is reported to have written no less than a page of music for every day that he lived. Both in his own era and for more than two centuries after his death he remained a favorite composer in Spanish and Spanish-American cathedrals because he wrote eminently singable, diatonic lines and wove his melodic strands through a functional harmonic fabric that often anticipates 18th-century harmonic usage.
To prove how proleptic was his harmonic sense, his Magnificat secundi toni when published in 1974 from an anonymous 18th-century copy in Lima Cathedral was mistakenly taken to be an 18th-century work. His Ave virgo sanctissima, a five-voice motet first published in 1566, became so popular that he was regarded as the quintessential composer of the perfect Marian motet. It was all the more remarkable in that its intense emotion was generated within the confines of a canonic structure. As in all Guerrero’s many canonic feats, the voices move so smoothly and effortlessly, and the harmonic impulse remains so clear throughout, that its technical complexities may pass the listener by.
8pm, Friday, April 12, St. Mary’s Cathedral
8pm, Saturday, April 13, Holy Rosary Church – West Seattle
Free pre-performance talks one hour prior to each performance