Francisco de Peñalosa (±1470-1528): Ave verum corpus

Francisco de Peñalosa is one those composers associated with the rise of Spain, with Ferdinand and Isabella and their royal chapels, and with the great cathedral choirs such as those of Toledo and Seville. Whenever I think of this period in Iberian history my thoughts turn to Juan de Anchieta, Pedro de Escobar, Juan del Encina and Francisco de Peñalosa. He was born some time around 1470 near Madrid and served in Ferdinand V of Aragon’s chapel. He rose to be appointed maestro de capilla to Ferdinand’s grandson in 1511 and was granted a benefice of Seville Cathedral. He’s known to have been in Seville in 1516 after Ferdinand’s death, and to have lived in Rome from 1517 until 1525 when he returned to Seville where he remained until his death. His contemporaries greatly admired his music with Cristóbal de Villalón comparing him to Josquin which when one considers that some motets now known to be by him were at one time believed to be by Josquin is less unreasonable than it sounds. Certainly his music was influenced by Josquin and by the Flemish composers who worked for the Spanish monarchy. His Eucharistic motet Ave verum corpus is somewhat old-fashioned in it’s style being entirely composed in plain chordal blocks, old fashioned perhaps but nevertheless beautiful. Enjoy :-).


Francisco de Peñalosa (±1470-1528): Ave verum corpus

Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria virgine,
Vere passum, immolatum, in cruce pro homine.
Cuius latus perforatum vere fluxit sanguine.
O clemens, o pie, o Jesu, Fili Mariae:
miserere nobis.
Hail true body, born of the Virgin Mary,
truly killed, sacrificed, on the cross for mankind.
His side pierced truly flowed with blood.
O kindly, O holy, O Jesus, Son of Mary:
have mercy on us.

Performers: Pro Cantione Antiqua conducted by Bruno Turner (conductor)

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