Música medieval y del Renacimiento español  /  Montserrat Caballé

para voz y vihuela

bne.es | spotify.com
Iberautor Promociones Culturales, S.R.L.  SA00885


1. Tod' ome deve dar loor  [2:42]  ALFONSO X El Sabio   CSM  230

Luys de MILÁN
2. Nova Angeletta sovra l'alle acorta  [1:15]  soneto en italiano
3. Al amor quiero vencer  [3:26]  villancico en castellano

4. Paseábase el Rey moro  [1:11]  Romance II, cuarto tono

5. Santa Maria loei  [2:30]  ALFONSO X El Sabio   CSM  200

6. La mañana de San Juan  [1:17]  romance viejo

7. El cant de la Sibil·la  [4:10]  popular, Mallorca

8. A creer devemos que todo pecado  [1:41]  ALFONSO X El sabio   CSM  65

Luys de MILÁN
9. Sospirastes Baldovinos  [5:41]  romance en castellano
10. Con pavor recordó el moro  [3:57]  romance en castellano
11. Toda mi vida os amé  [1:52]  villancico en castellano
12. Triste estava  [3:04]  romance en castellano

13. Claros y frescos rios  [2:37]  canción III

14. Porque trobar e cousa en que jaz  [2:39]  ALFONSO X El Sabio   CSM  Prólogo

Luys de MILÁN
15. Gentil mia donna  [2:02]  soneto en italiano
16. Levayme amor dàquesta terra  [2:25]  villancico en portugués
17. Amor que tan bien sireviendo  [3:06]  villancico en castellano

18. Israel, mira tus montes  [2:36]  romance

Arreglos de los temas  1, 5, 7, 8 y 14 realizados por David Gonzalez — Joan Valent

Técnicos de grabación: Carlos Peñalver, Mateu Picornell, Toni Pastor
Grabado en los estudios Montalpark (Barcelona) y Estudios Hiroshima (Palma de Mallorca)
Edición y Mezclas: Carlos Peñalver, Estudios Montalpark
Supervisor artístico: Carlos Caballé
Producción artistica y musical: Joan Valent

Fotografías Montserrat Caballé: Silvia Poliakoff
Fotografía David González: Ignacio Evangelista
Vestuario David González: Cerruti
Concepto gráfico: Mercader de Ideas

Since the edition in the early 16th century of Luys de Milán's teaching manual, the Libro de Música de vihuela de mano intitulado el maestro (Valencia, 1536), Spanish vihuelists have published six major anthologies for this instrument. Among their most salient characteristics is their incorporation of some of the first examples of tempo indications, such as "apriessa" and "a espacio". The vihuela was the musical instrument favored by the Spanish court in the early 16th century, before it was superseded by the guitar towards the end of that century.

The interpretation of musical scores at the time was ruled by greater flexibility than that evinced nowadays. Whether in instrumental or vocal pieces, for soloists or groups, performers tended to ornament the music they had in front of them. The period spanning from the mid-1530s to the end of the century saw the publication of more than ten treatises and methods with instructions on how to improvise ornamentation. Some were written by and for instrumentalists, others by and for performers. This proliferation of treatises clearly defined the styles and clichés of their authors, and it is in the light of their different instructions that we have developed the musical arrangements for the Cantigas de Santa María, which were originally written to be interpreted by a single performer singing alone or with a chorus.

The repertory of this record derives from the different interpretations of ornamentation in the works of Milán, Pisador, Narváez and Mudarra, in which a variety of ways of understanding music and its execution can be appreciated. Their contrapuntal richness, harmonic development, and excellent vocal melodies open up an era of Spanish music of great importance and relevance for the future development of music.

The Cantigas de Santa María are one of the great monuments of medieval music. As a result of their unexpected use of mensural notation, the Cantigas de Santa María are unique in so far as they are the only great repertory of monophonic song that can be transcribed with any degree of certainty into compasses and modern figures. The melodic style of the Cantigas is simple, concise and basically syllabic. There are few ornamental turns and these rarely exceed two to three notes per syllable. The melodic movement is mainly ensemble, with occasional leaps. The biggest leaps appear between phrases. The relatively short phrases produced by the syllabic style are defined by neat cadences, by their rhythmic configuration and by the repetitive nature of the forms. The Cantigas offer some of the most attractive and harmonious melodies in the repertory of monophonic song.

The Cant de la Sibil·la (Majorca — Valencia, 1400), according to the Moll-Alcover dictionary: "The Cant de la Sibi·la, which is sung on Christmas eve at the Seo de Mallorca (Majorca Cathedral) and almost all the churches on the island of Majorca, is one of the most highly valued monuments of our religious folklore." According to Moceen Higini Anglés (La música en Cataluña hasta el siglo XIII / Music in Catalonia to the 13th century) : "As far as Catalonia is concerned, the Cant de la Sibi·la is the oldest drama of which we have knowledge. It was first acted in the 10th century in Ripio and it spread throughout Catalonia, where it was represented until the 16th century. Once Majorca was reconquered, Gregorian chant and Roman liturgy were introduced into the island. Thus, the Cant de la Sibil·la was introduced with the same mozarab melody that it had in Catalonia, France and Italy, with peculiar variations derived from the traditional or folk music of the island, preserving it up to our days."

Joan Valent

DIEGO PISADOR (1510-1557?)

This Spanish vihuelist and composer was born in Salamanca. His best known work, the Libro de música de vihuela dedicated to Philip II, was published in 1552. This anthology is divided into seven books and a total of 186 pieces if the author's division of masses into as many fragments is taken into account.
The first book contains 37 variations about Conde Claros, 12 others, 1 pavan, 1 song, 5 romances, and some dirges from the Canary Islands, among other pieces. The fantasias — 24 in total, written in all tones — appear in the third volume.
Like Valderrábano, in his fantasias Pisador used the red colour to mark the voz cantabile, whether it has text, as in the motets and masses, or not, as in the fantasias.

ALONSO MUDARRA (1510-1580)

This Spanish vihuelist and composer was born in Seville, the city where he served the dukes of Infantado, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and Inigo Lopez, and where he became a canon in 1547.
In 1546 he published Tres libros de música for vihuela, written in lute tablature, bringing together 77/79 compositions not only by his hand, but also by that of other authors,  and including fantasias, romanescas, pavans, gallardas, tientos, songs and carols, as well as 4 pieces specifically written for the guitar. The first two books were strictly instrumental.
Mudarra can be regarded as the first composer of works for the guitar, since his compositions were for six-course vihuela, four-course guitar and voice and vihuela. Juan Bermudo, a renowned Spanish theorist and composer of the time, said that Mudarra was, if not the best, then certainly one of the best vihuela players of all times. His style stands out for its dense counterpoint and notable freedom in the use of dissonance. A connoisseur of 16th century music in Italy, he was the first composer who used a pavan series followed by a gallarda in Spain.

LUYS DE MILÁN (15??- 1561-79?)

Musician and poet at the ducal court of Valencia, Luys de Milán was an excellent composer and vihuela player who served King Ferdinand of Aragon, the Duke of Calabria and King John III of Portugal.
In 1536 he published his most noted work, the Libro de música de vihuela de mano intitulado El Maestro, dedicated to John III, King of Portugal and the Algarve, and conceived as a teaching manual for vihuela de mano or common vihuela (a musical instrument built like a large guitar with six double courses of strings). This, the first book in Spain to feature printed tablature, included several sections of vocal and instrumental music.
As far as we know, Milán was the first composer to include indications of tempo in his work as a guide to the interpretation of his music. He mentioned the rubato (a gala strum) and, above all, pointed to the importance of extending the key notes, generally the most acute ones.
His fantasias are of two kinds: contrapuntal pieces, on the one hand, and the formally free pieces known as "consonancias y redobles" (chords and scales), on the other. Milán stated that whereas chords should be played slowly, scales should be executed rapidly.

The importance of Milaán in the history of the vihuela derives from his book, the first known collection of vihuela pieces written entirely by one composer. It contains 40 fantasias, 4 tientos, 6 pavans, 6 villancicos in Portuguese and a further 6 carols in Castilian, 4 old romances and 6 sonnets with lyrics by Petrarch, a poet whose texts were very popular in the madrigals of the time.  

LUIS DE NARVÁEZ (1510-1555)

Born in Granada, this Spanish vihuelist and composer was renowned for his extraordinary virtuosity. Narváez spent part of his life in Valladolid, where he was at the service first of the chief commander Francisco de los Cobos, Charles I's assistant, and later of prince Philip.
In 1538 he published Los Seis libros del Delfín de Música de Cifra para tañer Vihuela, dedicated to Francisco de los Cobos, which consisted of 52 pieces, including 14 fantasias and several variations on themes by Josquin, Gombert, and Richafort. Narváez was the first composer who introduce this type of composition (the variation) in Europe.
His style is more contrapuntal than that of his contemporary Luys de Milán. His works were known outside Spain and his compositions formed part of Morley's and de Phalèse's books of lute tablature.

ALFONSO X THE WISE (1221-1284)

King of Castile and Leon (1252-1284). Son of Ferdinand III (1217-1252) and Beatrice of Swabia. Upon the death of his father, he resumed the offensive against the Moors, occupying the fortresses of Jerez (1253) and Cadiz (c. 1262). In 1264 he crushed an important revolt led by the Mudejars living in the Guadalquivir valley. His most ambitious claim was to the Holy Roman Empire, a project to which he dedicated over half of his rule. The last family to hold the title had been the Staufen family, of which he was a member through his mother. Next to the Wise King appeared another candidate to the Holy Empire, the English Sir Richard of Cornwall. In 1257, the seven electoral votes for emperor were divided and the seat of the Empire remained vacant, since neither of the two candidates managed to assert their authority. Finally, in September of 1272, Rudolph I, founder of the Habsburg imperial dynasty, was elected emperor and in May of 1275 Alfonso X definitely renounced his claim in front of Pope Gregory X.

The historiographic activity of Alfonso X and his collaborators was given concrete representation in histories such as Estoria de España and Grande e General Estoria, written in Castilian in testimony to the monarch's support of this romance language. In the field of poetry, Alfonso X was responsible for the compilation of a splendid repertory of Cantigas, the most famous of which are the religious ballad-style accounts or hymns in praise of the Virgin known as the Cantigas de Santa María. The King of Castile and Leon also fostered the study of music: in the recreational field, the pieces produced in his workshops and known as the Libros de axedrez, dados e tablas stand out. Finally, in the field of architecture, the most important work built during his reign was the cathedral in Leon.


Her international breakthrough came in 1965. She was asked at short notice to learn the title role in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia which was to be given a concert performance in Carnegie Hall. She was utterly unknown, hut after her first aria the astounded New York audience gave her an ovation that lasted twenty minutes. As the New York Herald Tribune reported the following day: "No amount of advance publicity could have foretold the extraordinary impact that this stately Goya-esque woman would have on an audience already spoiled by the likes of Callas and Sutherland. When Caballé began her first aria, there was a perceptible change in the atmosphere. It seemed for a moment that everyone had stopped breathing". Representatives of the major operatic and recording companies were in the audience that evening, and overnight her international career was launched. Since then, she has sung in all the great opera houses and concert halls throughout the world and is held in special affection in Paris, Vienna, Moscow, New York, and London. Montserrat Caballé's repertoire is enormous -her stage roles number nearly 90- and is probably unrivaled by any other singer this century. She can also lay fair claim to being one of the most commercially recorded, with over 80 titles to her credit, half of which are of complete operas. She has sung all the great roles of the standard repertory, from Luisa Miller to Salome, from Pamina to Isolde. But she is perhaps best known -and most admired for- her bel canto assumptions: the great queens of Donizetti's tragedies found in her an ideal interpreter, capable of investing what in most hands can sound diffuse and generic music with a depth of emotional and dramatic power way beyond the range of mere coloraturas. Small wonder, then, that she became the only meaningful successor to Maria Callas in the role of Norma, an opera in which she dominated the world's stages throughout the 1970s. Additionally, she has also shown a remarkable enthusiasm for tackling forgotten works. In this, she has of course continued the examples set by Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland, but has in fact gone considerably further than either. Over the last ten years, at a stage of the career when most sopranos content themselves with a progressive reduction in their activities, preserving only a handful of manageable roles, Montserrat has instead embarked upon an astonishing exploration of unfamiliar repertory. This includes Gluck's Armide, Salieri's Les Danaïdes, Paccini's Saffo, Spontini's La Vestale and Agnese di Hohenstaufen, Massenet's Herodiade, Cherubini's Medea and Démophon, Rossini's Ermione and Il Viaggio a Reims, Donizetti's Sancia di Castiglia and Respighi's La Fiamma.

Additionally, she has become known to a different and even wider audience through her collaboration with the late Freddie Mercury on the album Barcelona, a state of affairs which seems set fair to be extended as a result of a new collaboration with Vangelis.

Following her rediscoveries of forgotten master works, which she is known for throughout her career, she has recently sang the role of Catherine d'Aragon in Saint-Saens' Henry VIII and she will be doing in the next three seasons a world first performance of Respighi's Maria Victoria, Massenet's Marie-Magdeleine and Cléôpatre and Donizetti's manuscript of his opera Maria Padilla.

Montserrat is the holder of numerous international honors and awards including the Order of Doña Isabel La Católica, the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. From 1974 she is Honorary Ambassadorship to the United Nations and from 1991 Peace Ambassador. Since 1994 she is Goodwill Ambassador to the Unesco. Recently she has been awarded the Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad Politécnica of Valencia and by the Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology of Russia. The MIDEM in Cannes has awarded her with a special prize, for her outstanding support to young talents. Also at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes took place the world première of the musical film "Caballé beyond music". Recently she has been awarded with the Generalitat de Catalunya National Prize of Culture and the Grosses Verdienstkreuz des Verdienstordens of the Federal Republic of Germany. Her greatness as an artist has primarily been founded on her vocal qualities: one of the most beautiful and versatile voices in recorded history allied to a virtually flawless technique. But there is also the charismatic power and warmth of her personality, which reaches out and captivates audiences the world over. In an age when the term has been debased by indiscriminate use, Caballé remains the authentic embodiment of what is to be a DIVA.


Born in Madrid, the guitar and vihuela player David González had lessons with the master Domingo Carvajal, a disciple of Regino Sáinz de la Maza. From early on González combined his guitar studies with his dedication to the vihuela repertory of 16th century in Spain. Fundamentally a self-taught vihuelist, he nevertheless read antique notation with professor Miguel Angel Jiménez at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música in Madrid. He also studied on a grant at two prestigious schools of music in New York: the Mannes College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. At the moment, he has made recordings for RTVE, Rai 1, Warner Music and Elliot Records. He is currently combining research work with the preparation of a record that includes Alonso Mudarra's vihuela compositions.