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In Renaissance and early-Baroque Spain the wind players who performed in cathedrals and churches were known as ministriles. The name “Ministriles de Marsias” (Marsyas’s minstrels) evokes not only this tradition but also the myth of the satyr Marsyas who learned to play the flute and then challenged Apollo (patron god of the lyre) to a musical contest. This story inspired great works in the days of the ministriles from artists such as Ribera and Velázquez and also lies behind certain modern psychoanalytical theories such as Anzieu’s concept of the “skinego” (Marsyas having been flayed alive by Apollo for his presumption). The Ministriles’ original grouping of Francisico Rubio (cornett), Beatrice Delpierre (shawm), Simeón Galduf (sackbut) and Fernando Sánchez (dulcian) came together, with continuo-players, in order to perform virtuoso Italian music from the first half of the seventeenth century (Fontana, Castello, Cima, Frescobaldi, Selma and Salaverde, among others). The Ministriles also perform works by Spanish composers, both the well-known, such as Morales and Guerrero, and the less famous such as Miguel de Irizar, and often collaborate with choirs or specially chosen solo singers.

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