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‘The Guerra Manuscript is one of the greatest jewels of Spanish Baroque music; I would even say in the whole of Spanish music. This compilation of the best tonadas of the second half of 17th century that permeated Madrid in the Spanish Golden Century is fundamental to an understanding of chamber and theatrical music of this period.

With our fifth instalment of the 100 tonadas or tonos humanos (secular songs) from the complete set, we continue to explore repertoire that was so characteristically personal to Spanish Baroque music. There is no equivalent anywhere else in European Baroque music.’

Manuel Vilas

The Guerra Manuscript, Vol. 5
17th Century Secular Spanish Vocal Music

José Antonio López, Baritone
Bruno Forst, Harpsichord
Ars Atlántica
Manuel Vilas, Harp and Director

Named after a scribe at Madrid’s royal chapel, the Guerra Manuscript is a vital source of the tono humano, a form of secular song characteristic of and exclusive to the Spanish Baroque, from a period when solo accompanied songs were at their most popular. Accompanied by double harp or harpsichord, these texts deal with subjects such as the pain of unrequited love and the balance between suffering and joy, also drawing on mythology and the natural world to symbolise the many facets of the human condition. This is the penultimate volume in a complete edition of these 17th-century gems.

About the Artists
Harpist and period instrument expert Manuel Vilas has featured on more than 60 recordings of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque repertoire and is founder-director of the Ars Atlántica ensemble, with whom he has recorded the complete songs of the Guerra Manuscript. Among numerous other engagements, he specialises in accompanying song recitals and has worked with many renowned singers. He has his own YouTube channel (ArpaManuelVilas) featuring performances on a range of historic harps filmed in different locations in Santiago de Compostela.
Baritone José Antonio López is noted for his recitals, concert appearances and opera roles, and has appeared at prestigious venues across Europe. He is also a committed interpreter of contemporary music. He has worked with numerous leading conductors, including Iván Fischer, Gianandrea Noseda, Masaaki Suzuki and Antoni Wit.
Bruno Forst specialises in faithfully recreating the manner of keyboard music performance between the 16th and 18th centuries. Passionate about Iberian music, his career as a performer takes him around the world, from Europe to the US, Mexico and Latin America. He has made several acclaimed albums of Iberian repertoire, and has published the first modern edition of Gonzalo de Baena’s Arte novamente inventada (1540).
Ars Atlántica is directed by harpist Manuel Vilas and performs music from the 12th to the 18th century, with particular emphasis on the Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Latin American repertoires. The ensemble's first album was a critically acclaimed world premiere recording with mezzo-soprano Marta Infante of cantatas from the Venetian Palazzo Contarini in Piazzola sul Brenta.
Previous releases in The Guerra Manuscript series
The Guerra Manuscript, Vol. 1
Monar • Vilas
‘This release ... is the beginning of a very promising series that will greatly enhance our appreciation of this unique repertoire.’
American Record Guide
The Guerra Manuscript, Vol. 2
Sancho • Ars Atlántica • Vilas
‘Eligio Luis Quinteiro on baroque guitars and Manual Vilas on Spanish baroque help Ars Atlántica provide just the right instrumental backdrop, and Manuel Vilas directs with sensitivity.’
The Guerra Manuscript, Vol. 3
Fernández • Ars Atlántica • Vilas
‘[Yetzabel Arias Fernández] has a beautiful, warm and agile voice which perfectly suits this repertoire. She is aptly supported by the instrumentalists who give fine performances of the instrumental items.’
musica Dei donum
The Guerra Manuscript, Vol. 4
Hernández • Fernández-Rueda
Fernández • Ars Atlántica • Vilas
‘The performances are, in short, very fine and one cannot go wrong here with this volume if one wishes a broad ranging anthology of what was popular among the upper classes in Baroque Spain.’

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