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Pedro Fernández de Castilleja
c.1480 - 1574
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P. Fernández de Castilleja
Pedro Fernández de Castilleja (ca.1480 - 1574) is probably born in Castilleja de la Cuesta a village near to Seville. Little is known about is early years. He was appointed Maestro de capilla at Seville Cathedral from 1514 to 1568 in succeeding Pedro de Escobar(c.1465 – after 1535). In that time famous Spanish composers has studied or interacted with Fernández as choirboy or alter boys like Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599) , Cristobal de Morales (c.1500-1553) , Rodrigo de Ceballos (1525-1591) and Juan Navarro (c.1530-1580). Fernández was not the most prolific composer, but he was a competent one. He held this position during his whole life but a lot of his duties - the last 25 years - were carried out by his pupil Francisco Guerrero ( 1528-1599), who called him "Maestro of the masters of Spain/ el maestro de los maestros de España ". Fernández taught many fine composers among others Cristóbal de Morales and Rodrigo de Ceballos . Unfortunately not many works were preserved or were attributed. At the same time Fernández taught the Greek and Latin language associated with Pedro Núñez Delgado (1478-1535), professor of Latinity at the San Miguel School ( el Estudio de San Miguel) from 1514 to 1535. As already mentioned above and as from 1551 Fernández was appointed “honored maestro ‘emeritus’ at the rest of his life until his death. Of course Fernández remained active in the musical life of the Cathedral.
His fundamental work as a musician, teacher and humanist has to be considered having served as a link between the generations of the first third of the sixteenth century (the poet Núñez Delgado and the musicians Alonso Pérez de Alba (*-1504), Pedro de Escobar or Francisco de Peñalosa (1470-1523) and Philip II (1527-1598) and the musicians already mentioned Francisco Guerrero or Rodrigo de Ceballos.
Author:Wim Goossens
Heu Mihi, Domine
Period:High Renaissance
Musical form:Motet à 5 vocibus inaequalium
Text/libretto:Latin out of de Officium Defunctorum
The “Heu mihi Domine” or (Hei mihi Domine) is a plainchant from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum, Ad Matutinum. The “Heu mihi, Domine” is an old Responsorium, a Respond which is published in the old Liber Usualis page 1791 (Edition 1936) and is sung after Lectio V in the secund Nocturn. But in the “Castillian” Liturgy this Respond “Heu,Hei mihi “ is sung in the second Nocturn after Lesson IV. In this case the Sevilian composer Pedro Fernández de Castilleja sets this Respond “Heu mihi Domine” for five voices (SATTB)
See the text part and the references below. The choice of texts and the order in which the Responds normally occur in the sources as we saw in the Renaissance period vary according to local uses. Fernández uses in this case the general version. Fernández sets this motet generally in imitative polyphonic counterpoint. Fernández starts with Tenor 2, followed by Triple, Tenor 1, Contralto, and Bassus. In this setting you see some influence of the Italian masters referring to the art of madrigals.
See for instance word-painting “in vita / in my life” with in nearly all voices a lot of ascending or descending eighth notes especially in Bass, Tenor 1 and 2, (measures 41-50 old score with C-clefs). In “ubi fugiam / where to flee”, all voices (measures 65-75 old score with C-clefs) have more ascending or descending eighth notes ( Tenor II has eight ones) to underline that wording. As from measure (105-131 old score) Fernández starts with more homophonic phrases the “miserere mei / have mercy on me,” with full major and changing minor and discording chords to underline those imposing words, all voices culminating in the last measures. Fernández uses fine sharps and flats to underline the meaning of the words all over this motet. The last phrase “dum veneris / thou shalt come” is again set in polyphonic counterpoint. This motet is set in G-Dorian mode.
Fernández seen this score didn’t follow the normal Gregorian rites of repeating certain sentences. This imitative counterpoint setting differs from Fernández earlier settings. Wagstaff did the suggestion this motet has been composes later if this is indeed set by Fernández!? This work is published in Lira sacra Hispania gran collection de obras de musica Religiosa dirigida by D. Hilarion Eslava, maestro de Real Capilla 19th century and in Gr. Wagstaff edition 1990 University of Texas at Austin.
Author:Wim Goossens
R. Heu mihi, Domine, quia peccavi nimis in vita mea:
quid faciam miser, ubi fugiam, nisi ad te, Deus meus?
Miserere mei, dum veneris in novissimo die.

R. Woe is me, o Lord, for I have sinned exceedingly in my life:
Miserable, what shall I do, to which place shall I flee, if not before Thee, my God?
Have mercy on me when. Thou shalt come at the latter of all days.
Contributor:Wim Goossens