9th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music


Reconsidering Music in an Institutional Context: the Real Seminario-Colegio de Corpus Christi (Valencia), 1625-60

Greta Olson

What has been dubbed as the ìValencian Schoolî featured largely polychoral or organ music written at the Valencia Cathedral, and the Real Seminario-Colegio de Corpus Christi (the Patriarca) by seventeenth-century composers such as Juan Bautista Comes, Juan Bautista Cabanilles, and Antonio Ortells.

Reassessing the works composed and the context for musical creation during the years 1625-60 at the Real Colegio-Seminario de Corpus Christi shows that there were many factors affecting the performance and writing of liturgical musical at the Colegio. Extant music, sometimes sophisticated in content, by Diego de Grado, Raymundo Sesse, and Marcos PÈrez is limited in quantity suggesting a decline in musical production. Certainly these changes are partly attributable to the individual composer but also characteristic of many churches in Spain at this time.

In the context of the history of the institution, these changes in music production appear concomitantly with increasing administrative and financial difficulties affecting the daily operations and the musical establishment. Initially adjustments may have been made in response to extraordinary local agricultural and economic conditions. Nonetheless, the problems grew to crisis proportions in the 1650s. A review of several main documentation sources including the Libro de Determinaciones, De las nominaciones, and De la Visita, along with materials from Armario No. 1 will be used to outline how the various difficulties affected the musical life at the Colegio. Rectification of the administrative and financial systems along with open searches for a new musical director beginning in 1661 formed the framework for a renewal of musical productivity.

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Last updated on 22 March 2000 by Yo Tomita