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Spanish Renaissance Series

The Spanish Renaissance offers a truly remarkable repertoire of outstanding sacred vocal music. From the mid-fifteenth through the early seventeenth century, Spanish Renaissance composers successfully shaped their own individualized sound that has variously been described as inspirational, intense, poignant, serene, and passionate. The vocal range and expressive harmonic vocabulary are particularly well suited for ensembles of recorders. The rhythmic syncopations, contrapuntal variety, and long phrasing, offer certain challenges yet remain accessible to a wide level of playing abilities. A virtual treasure-trove of musical experiences and opportunities wait to be explored!

"Mark and LaNoue Davenport, a father-and-son team who really know recorders... have made a wise decision in launching a Spanish Renaissance Series: there is a wealth of Spanish sacred music, but little of it is available in editions suitable for recorders. For recorder players who cut their teeth on dances of Susato and Praetorius, it's time to "take it to the next level." Here are some examples of the finest music of the age, finely crafted by master composers... an auspicious beginning for what promises to be an outstanding series." (Stewart Carter, American Recorder)

Alonso Lobo. Versa est in luctum (AATBBB or TrTrTBBB) LP SRS-1B                           Set for Recorders, Viols or Other Early Instruments by Mark Davenport. $10.00

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Only in the last half of the twentieth century has Alonso Lobo (ca. 1555-1617) been reestablished as a composer of high stature. The renewed recognition has developed through recent discoveries of his manuscripts, particularly in Mexico, and by a noticeable increase in recordings of his music by established choirs.  Lobo followed a long line of highly influential and well-known Spanish composers—a group that includes Cristobal de Morales (ca. 1500-1553), Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599), and Tom‡s Luis de Victoria (ca. 1548-1611) among its ranks. As an aide to Guerrero (and probable successor at the Seville Cathedral in Spain) Lobo built a solid and esteemed reputation as maestro de capilla and composer.

Lobo's inspired six-part motet Versa est in luctum,  was composed for the funeral of King Philip II of Spain, in 1598, and beautifully captures the remorse of such an occasion. The piece was published shortly after in his  Liber primus missarum Alphonsi Lobo de Borja (Madrid, 1602), a collection that includes seven motets and six masses by Lobo.

Alonso Lobo. Ave Maria (A/sATT/b + A/sTTB) LP SRS-2   
Set for Recorders, Viols or Other Early Instruments
by Mark Davenport. $13.00

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Lobo's ingenious double choir motet Ave Maria , from his Liber primus missarum Alphonsi Lobo de Borja (Madrid, 1602), demonstrates exceptional contrapuntal skill. The use of canon, as a unifying compositional device, was actively promoted by Spanish composers. In this eight-part motet, Lobo tackles the problem of an eight-in-four canon (as Guerrero had done a half-century earlier with his eight-part Pater noster).

"A compositional tour de force."   (Stewart Carter, American Recorder)

Cristobal de Morales. Emendemus in melius (ATTTB) LP SRS-3   
Set for Recorders, Viols or Other Early Instruments
by Mark Davenport. $11.00

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Of all the sixteenth-century Spanish composers, Cristobal de Morales (ca. 1500-1553) was the most highly esteemed, not only during his lifetime but for hundreds of years after his death. Emendemus in melius is widely acclaimed among the splendors of sixteenth-century Spanish polyphony. The well-known musicologist Willi Apel, included the motet in his classic study, the Historical Anthology of Music, calling this "one of the greatest works in all music history!"