of the Baroque.
Instrumental and vocal music from cathedral of Girona (Circa 1700).
The Music Chapel of the Cathedral , already established in the 13 th century,
is one of the foremost institutions in the barroc life of Girona. Constituted
by twelve clergy and four acolytes (severs, choir-boys) the majority coming
from the Girona areas, was led by a chapel-master of high professional
category, charged periodically compose and conduct new pieces of music
for the religious ceremonies, having at its disposal a notable budget,
and its activities were regulated in detail.
The archives of this chapel, one of the important ones in the country,
conserves a collection of close a thousand pieces of music of the 16 th
and 17 th century, in which one can appreciate the strength of religious
music as much as a diffusion of the ecclesiastic message, as a prestigious
social instrument, in a Girona that multiplies the number of its inhabitants,
broadening also its social aspect. This was the only music of quality
that could be regularly heard in the city.
Following strictly the directives of the Counsil of Trento, the chanting
of this Chapel had two principal objectives: the Gregorian chant for the
liturgy celebrations and free production of the para-liturgy, destined
for religious acts of more popular aspect, where the integration of the
different voices of polyphony with the sound of an ample variety of instruments,
under the stylish precepts of the so-called hispanic barroc.
The villancico was one the most recurring forms, which was a light piece
with a grand preponderance of melodic line and with an air that frequently
approached the dance that reflected a pretended idyllic ruralism. Written
for one or two groups of voices, it is presented with an instrumental
accompaniment, generally of ternary rhythm, and which some texts, in castelano,
very cultured and a rhetoric full of instructive symbolism.
Josep Gaz (1656-1713, active in Girona between 1690 and 1711) notable
among the composers at the end of barroc in Catalunya. Born in Martorell
and buried in the cloister of Girona cathedral, his catalogue of villancicos
in the Chapel archives is of notably quality. Hoy que cultos le dedican
is probably one of those that were interpreted most, if we are to judge
by the variations conserve ding the sheet-music. Dedicated to St. Narcissus
, patron saint of the city, comprised three vocal choirs and one instrumental.
The text compares the white of the flower with the purity of the saint.
Of villancico anonymus Aire, agua, cielo y tierra of the beginning of
the 18 century, we only have the refrain that plays with the symbols of
the four elements of the Creation with the duality heaven/earth of the
Eucarist. As regards Jazmines y azuzenas, actually conserved in the Library
of Catalunya, also uses the flower symbolism but with a more poetic air.
Manuel Gònima (1712-1792 born in Lleida and active in Girona between
1735-1774) was a composer in the transition between barroc and classicism.
Of its 71 works preserved in the archives, outstanding in his motet Laetentur
caeli, in which is show the gallant flowing style coming from Italy, less
strident and with softer harmonies.
Dé al ayre su dulce voz, Amantes jigueros and Amor sí, placer
no are Solos for treble, probably performed by the Chapel boy sopranos,
in which earthly love is compared with heavenly.
The minuets (AMCG XII 240) are of author unknown, written for a keyboard,
and were suitable as circumstancial pieces as well as studies for the
harpsicord, harp or lute in the practical teaching of the Chapel boys.
We have written evidence of pinched string instruments as well as some
musicians that they played them: Antoni Milans, Chapel Master and harpist
in the Catedral between 1719 and 1733, and Josep Anglada from Cassà
de la Selva, lute and violin player in the Chapel about 1730. Ball of
the Príncep comes from a collection of dances that supposedly were
deposited in the archives from the musicians occasionally contracted.
English by: Lemuel & Dolly Chamberlain-Bartolí