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8.555772 - ANCHIETA, J. de: Missa Sine Nomine (Capilla Peñaflorida)
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Juan de Anchieta (1462-1523)

Juan de Anchieta (1462-1523)

Missa Sine Nomine • Salve regina


The second son of Martín García de Anchieta and Urtayzaga de Loyola, who was a great-aunt of the future saint, Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, members of a leading family in the Basque country, Juan de Anchieta was born in 1462 near Azpeitia in Guipúzcoa in the Iraurgui valley. Although there is no information about his formative years, it is possible that he served as a chorister in the chapel of Henry IV of Castile and perhaps studied at Salamanca University, where Diego de Fermoselle, an elder brother of Juan del Encina, taught. In 1489 he was appointed as a singer in the Court Chapel of Queen Isabella the Catholic, with a salary of 20,000 maravedís, increased in 1493 to 30,000 maravedís. In 1495 he was appointed maestro di capilla to the Prince Don Juan. After the death of the Prince in 1497 he returned to the service of the Queen, to be rewarded with benefices at the cathedral of Granada and of Villarino, travelling with the court, as required. In 1503 he was appointed rector of San Sebastián de Soreasu, a position he held in absentia. After the death of Queen Isabella in 1504 he served her heir, Joanna the Mad. His position at court continued to involve a number of journeys, notably to Brussels in the service of Joanna the Mad and her husband Philip the Fair of Burgundy. His travel to Brussels was together with Pierre de la Rue, Alexander Agricola and Marbriano de Orto, singers in the Court Chapel. He spent the early months of 1506, from January to March, in England, where the royal fleet was detained, on the voyage back to Spain. At the beginning of 1509 he accompanied Queen Joanna to her refuge at Tordesillas, and remained with her until her abdication. Anchieta’s salary under Queen Joanna between 1507 and 1516 was 45,000 maravedís. In 1518 he was made Abbot of Arbás, succeeded at San Sebastián de Soreasu by his nephew, who was murdered shortly afterwards. Earlier years had brought family conflict when he was assaulted by two of the Loyola brothers. In 1519, at the wish of the Emperor Charles V, whom he had presumably served as tutor, Anchieta retired, retaining his salary. He was allowed by papal dispensation to transfer his income from the benefice of Villarino to a Franciscan convent that he established in Azpeitia, where he spent the rest of his life and where he hoped to be buried, although, at his death in 1523, this did not happen.


Of Anchieta’s compositions some thirty works survive, among them two complete Masses, two Magnificats, a Salve Regina, four attributed Passion settings, with other sacred works and four composition with Spanish texts. Anchieta was among the leading Spanish composers of sacred music of his time. His writing is largely designed for the ample resources of the court chapel of the Reyes Catholicos.


The composer Francisco de Peñalosa, whose Sancta mater istud agas, once attributed to Josquin, is included between the Credo and the Offertorium, was held in even higher esteem than Anchieta, praised by his near contemporary, Cristobal de Villalón, as better than Apollo, the inventor of music. He joined the royal chapel in 1498 and served as maestro di capilla to a grandson of King Ferdinand. With the death of the King in 1516 and the accession of Charles V, with his own capilla flamenca, he left the Spanish court, serving briefly in Seville at the cathedral. In 1517 he became a member of the papal chapel of Pope Leo X. On the latter’s death in 1521 he returned to Seville, where he had intermittently held a disputed benefice in absentia over a number of years. He died there in 1528.


The organist Francisco Fernández Palero, whose glosa (elaboration) of a Josquin Kyrie is included, served as organist at the royal chapel in Granada for some forty years. He died there in 1597. Juan de Urreda, perhaps of Flemish origin as Johannes Wreede of Bruges, served the first Duke of Alba and is recorded in 1477 as Maestro di capilla to King Ferdinand V. His compositions had wide currency, in particular his hymn Pange lingua, making use of the traditional Spanish Mozarabic melody. Antonio de Cabezón, the blind organist and composer whose glosa on the Pange lingua is included, belongs to a slightly later generation. He was born about 1510 near Burgos and served as organist to the wife of Charles V, Queen Isabella, and then of Philip II. He died in Madrid in 1566.


Anchieta’s Missa Sine nomine, also called the Missa quarti toni, is here presented together with motets and pieces relevant to the liturgy, with the intention of evoking the sound of a liturgical ceremony of the period of the composer. All the pieces are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, In honorem Beatae Mariae Virginis. The well-known melody of L’homme armé is used by Anchieta in the third voice of the Agnus Dei, and partly in the Kyrie, Sanctus and Benedictus of the Mass, while the principal theme of the Gloria is from Mass XV of the Graduale Romanum. His Salve Regina alternates Gregorian chant and polyphony in ten sections.


Keith Anderson

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