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Francisco de Peñalosa
c.1470 - 1528
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F. de Peñalosa
Francisco de Peñalosa (c. 1470 - 01/04/1528) was a Spanish composer. De Peñalosa was born in Talavera de la Reina in the province of Toledo. From 1498 de Peñalosa served as a chapel singer at the court of Ferdinand II the Catholic of Aragon (1452-1516).
He spent most of his career in Seville, serving at the Royal Court of Aragon and in the cathedral as from 1511 as the maestro di capilla, though he also spent time in Burgos, and three years in Rome at the papal chapel (1518–1521). Unfortunately little is known about his life at the court. De Peñalosa was one of the most famous Spanish composers of the generation before Cristóbal de Morales (c.1500-1553), and his compositions were highly regarded at the time. De Peñalosa brought the distinguished Netherlandish polyphonic style to the Iberian peninsula. He highly admired the style of Josquin de Prez (c.1440-1521). De Peñalosa wrote six Masses, he set more but are incomplete, seven Magnificat settings, three Lamentations, twenty-six motets and five hymns.
Eleven secular compositions – Villancico – have survived. His work survived in sources like Tarazona Cathedral Archivo capitular, Toledo Cathedra biblioteca capitular, Bibliotheca de Catalunya in Barcelona, Bibliotheca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra, Bibliotheca Colombina de Seville, Catedral Metropolitana de Seville. He died still serving as a canon of the Cathedral in Seville.
Author:Wim Goossens
Versa est in luctum
Period:Early Renaissance
Musical form:motet à 6 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin Officium Defunctorum
Label(s):CDH 55357
HMU 907328
HYP 66574
OGM 261084
R. Versa est in luctum cithara mea et organum meum in vocem flentium. Parce mihi, Domine, nihil enim sunt dies mei.
V. Cutis mea denigrate est super me et ossa mea aruerunt.
[Utinam appenderentur peccata mea,
Quibus iram merui et calamitas quam patio in statera.]
R. My harp is tuned for lamentation and my organ into the voice of those who weep. Spare me Lord, for my days are as nothing.
V. My skin is black upon me and my bones are dried up.
[O that my sins, whereby I have deserved wrath
And the calamity that I suffer, were weighed in balance.]
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Versa est in Luctum is a plainchant from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum Responsory from Matins of the Dead set by de Peñalosa in a motet for four voices (ATTB). The Versa est in luctum is an old Responsorium and even used and set by for instance Alonso Lobo (c.1535-1617), Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), Sebastián de Vivanco (c.1550-1622), Estêvão Lopes Morago (c.1575-1630), Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla (c.1590-1664) and José de Torres y Martinez Bravo (1665-1738). Those settings from “Versa est in luctum” have to be considered as an Iberian inheritance. There are about 138 Responsoria de Officium Defunctorum known and used during centuries in the Office of the Dead. They are all well ordered. The Versa est in Luctum is Respond nr 95. The belonging Versicle nr. 43 Cutis mea is set too by de Peñalosa, like many others did not. Besides de Peñalosa added two verses to the Versicle out of Book Job 6.2 and have been placed by us below between brackets. The text is from the book of Job and has become in certain European regions a Respond in the Office of the Dead. This Respond is found with some introductions in two Offices of the Dead in Lyon. And from there it is spread into Europe. The settings in Spain and Portugal are taken from contemporary chant books containing responds which are deemed suitable for funeral purposes. In some instances, a motet was sung between the oration and the absolution. It was in any case traditional at that time to include some extra motets at the end of a Requiem Mass.
Beside the Versa est in luctum , the Sitivit anima mea and the Non mortui by Manual Cardoso (1566-1750) and the Sitivit anima mea by Pedro de Cristo (c.1540-1618) set by two Portuguese composers and present in this website have the same function. The text “Versa est in luctum” was not a direct part of the traditional Spanish liturgy but much more an extra-liturgical motet during the Obsequies of very important dignitaries of State or Church. De Peñalosa and the other composers mentioned above must have found special inspiration in it, especially for funeral purposes. Those composers did it in an excellent but different way of character, due in the period they lived and the skills they had.
This splendid four part motet by de Peñalosa – one of the earliest more part settings of Versa est in Luctum – starts with Bassus, followed by Bariton, Tenor 1 and Altus. The first part consists out of 31 bars.
The second part starts with Bariton, followed by Bassus, Altus and Tenor and consists out of 39 bars. This motet has a steady interesting contrapuntal flow and consists out of 70 bars. The choral music in the period of Francisco de Peñalosa was primarily conceived for men’s voices in the following combination: Altus, Tenor high, Tenor low and Bassus. De Peñalosa uses some accidentals, some sharps has been used in the first and second part to express his feelings. This masterly Versa est in luctum exploits harmony and melody so that one voice or another dominates in what seems like heartfelt outpourings of grief and so it is.
This setting by Peñalosa was found and published in the Toledo Cathedral manuscript 1549.
Author:Wim Goossens
Domine, secundum actum meum
Period:Early Renaissance
Musical form:Motet à 4 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from a Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum
In memory of:CDH 55357
R. Domine secundum actum meum noli me iudicare: nihil dignum in conspectu tuo egi ideo deprecor maiestatem tuam ut tu (Deus) deleas iniquitatem meam.
V. Amplius lava me, Domine ab injustitia mea et a delicto (peccata) meo munda mea.

R. Lord do not judge me after my deeds; I have done nothing worthy in your eyes.
Therefore I beseech You in Your majesty to deliver me from my sins.
V. Wash me Lord from my iniquity; and clean me of my fault (sin).
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Domine, secundum actum meum is a plainchant from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum Ad Matutinum composed by Francisco de Peñalosa for four voices (ATBB). The Domine, secundum actum meum is an old Responsorium, Respond and still published in the old Liber Usualis page 1798 and is sung after Lectio VIII. The Domine, secundum actum meum is written by de Peñalosa in a modest imitative polyphonic counterpoint. The choral music in this period was primarily conceived for men’s voices in a combination Altus, Tenor high, Tenor low and Bassus. De Peñalosa uses some fine dissonant to give more extra accents to the context. This Respond is divided in two parts and the second part consist out of the normal Versicle ‘ Amplius’ followed by the last part of the Respond which is normal practice. The total motet consists in total out of 68 bars divided in 43 bars and 25 bars for respective first and second part, the Verse (Versus). In the first part the Tenor and Baritone start together followed by Bassus and Altus. De Peñalosa uses some homophonic phrases tot underline the text in “secundum” and “iniquitatem” . The second part starts with Tenor followed by Bassus, Baritone and Altus. De Peñalosa didn’t use the wording ‘peccata’ (sin) but used ‘delicto’ (fault) and is placed by us in the text below between brackets. This Respond has an real austere sphere. This Respond Domine, secundum actum meum is published in Tarazona, Catedral Archivo capitular da la Catedral, circa 1550 within 39 compositions set by de Peñalosa and in Tarazona Cathedral, Ms 2/3, Folios 265v-266.
Author:Wim Goossens