Church of the Monastery of San Jerónimo de Yuste (Cáceres) | 16 September 2023

 Carlos V: La música en la intimidad de un imperio

Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire was, like his firstborn Philip II, a great defender of musical art. Our selection of works and authors that represent the Renaissance style and the incipient Baroque is a sample of the quality and spiritual intensity of the sonorous art of the Iberian Peninsula during the 16th and early 17th century. This quality is shared by vocal and instrumental genres in works ranging from soloist to antiphonic formations with double choirs and a large number of instruments.

This concert seeks to immerse the audience in a sound journey through the music of the time, presenting pieces and compositions that would have been appreciated and enjoyed in the intimate circles of the court and the emperor himself. From sacred music and polyphony to folk songs or dances, the programme offers a variety of styles and genres that capture the richness and diversity of music of that time. The instruments of the time, such as lutes and Renaissance flutes, transport listeners, along with the voice, to an authentic atmosphere, and recreate the magic of music in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Next, we invite you to read a brief biographical outline of Tomás Luis de Victoria that we hope will serve as an illustrative example of the active musical scene of this golden period of our nation’s music. Tomás Luis de Victoria was born in Ávila in 1548 and began his career in music as a singing boy in the cathedral of his hometown.

The young man learned the rudiments of music with the chapel masters Gerónimo de Espinar and Bernardino de Ribera. It is very likely that he had the opportunity to listen to the great Antonio de Cabezón when he played the cathedral organ in 1552 and in 1556. His classical education was always linked to the Jesuits and it is at the Collegio Germanico in Rome where he probably comes into contact with Palestrina, chapel master at the neighbouring Roman Seminary and learns the subtleties of the Palestinian style that would distinguish him among his peninsular contemporaries since his first works.

In the dedication of his Missarum libri (1583) to Philip II, Victoria expresses his desire to return to Spain and lead a simple life as a priest. The king, in reward to the dedication of the musician, appoints him chaplain of his sister and the musician begins to reside in the Monastery of the Descalzas de Santa Clara in Madrid, where he worked as master of the choir and organist until his death in 1611. His work is not as prolific as that of Palestrina or Lassus and is limited to texts in Latin, but this was not an obstacle for his works to be published in luxurious formats and with a large number of reprints throughout Europe and Latin America.