SEBASTIÁN DURÓN (1660 - 1716)
Sebastián Durón exemplifies the sea-change that Spanish Baroque music underwent at the turn of the eighteenth century. Brought up in a deeply rooted and clearly distinguishable native tradition, within which he was highly respected and could develop his personal style, he witnessed the advent of the Italian influence, and succeeded in adopting and adapting its new forms with originality into his own music.
Born in 1660 in Brihuega (in the central Spanish province of Guadalajara), little is known of Durón’s early life, but he was clearly very gifted from a young age and his talents must have been nurtured by some important teacher, given that before the age of twenty he had already been appointed to a number of responsible musical posts. We do know that at he began an ecclesiastical career as an outstanding organist and composer serving the Cathedrals of Saragossa, Seville, El Burgo de Osma and Palencia, before his prestigious appointment as an organist in the Royal Chapel of Charles II.
Durón’s work was widely known, and he was later also appointed royal maestro de capilla, and entrusted with organising all the court’s musical and theatrical entertainments, which brought him into contact with foreign artists and composers with different styles. During this period (between 1691 and 1700), Durón firmly established himself as one of the most important musicians in Spain.
After the outbreak of the War of Spanish Succession, and the ascent to the throne of the Bourbon Philip V, the cultural tastes at the court changed in favor of the more free Italian style. Durón soon fell out of favor with the new court, and was forced into exile in France, living his last years in Bayonne, Pau and Cambo les Bains, where he worked at the court of Charles’s widow, Maria Anna of Neuburg. He died in 1716.