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ClassicsOnline Home » ANCHIETA: Missa Sine Nomine
An opportunity to hear something really good
I initially came across this when researching the armed man theme. I decided to buy it only because someone had given some money for music at Christmas.
What a revelation! I have listened to it now about four or five times. It is stunningly recorded and anyone with the slightest interest in medieval polyphony should include this in their collection.more....
By Christopher Thomas
By Craig Zeichner
Early Music America
Juan de Anchieta (1462-1523)
Missa Sine Nomine • Salve regina
The second son of Martín García de Anchieta and Urtayzaga de
Loyola, who was a great-aunt of the future saint, Ignatius Loyola, founder of
the Society of Jesus, members of a leading family in the Basque country, Juan
de Anchieta was born in 1462 near Azpeitia in Guipúzcoa in the Iraurgui valley.
Although there is no information about his formative years, it is possible that
he served as a chorister in the chapel of Henry IV of Castile and perhaps
studied at Salamanca University, where Diego de Fermoselle, an elder brother of
Juan del Encina, taught. In 1489 he was appointed as a singer in the Court
Chapel of Queen Isabella the Catholic, with a salary of 20,000 maravedís,
increased in 1493 to 30,000 maravedís. In 1495 he was appointed maestro di
capilla to the Prince Don Juan. After the death of the Prince in 1497 he
returned to the service of the Queen, to be rewarded with benefices at the
cathedral of Granada and of Villarino, travelling with the court, as required.
In 1503 he was appointed rector of San Sebastián de Soreasu, a position he held
in absentia. After the death of Queen Isabella in 1504 he served her heir,
Joanna the Mad. His position at court continued to involve a number of
journeys, notably to Brussels in the service of Joanna the Mad and her husband
Philip the Fair of Burgundy. His travel to Brussels was together with Pierre de
la Rue, Alexander Agricola and Marbriano de Orto, singers in the Court Chapel.
He spent the early months of 1506, from January to March, in England, where the
royal fleet was detained, on the voyage back to Spain. At the beginning of 1509
he accompanied Queen Joanna to her refuge at Tordesillas, and remained with her
until her abdication. Anchieta’s salary under Queen Joanna between 1507 and
1516 was 45,000 maravedís. In 1518 he was made Abbot of Arbás, succeeded at San
Sebastián de Soreasu by his nephew, who was murdered shortly afterwards.
Earlier years had brought family conflict when he was assaulted by two of the
Loyola brothers. In 1519, at the wish of the Emperor Charles V, whom he had
presumably served as tutor, Anchieta retired, retaining his salary. He was
allowed by papal dispensation to transfer his income from the benefice of
Villarino to a Franciscan convent that he established in Azpeitia, where he
spent the rest of his life and where he hoped to be buried, although, at his
death in 1523, this did not happen.
Of Anchieta’s compositions some thirty works survive, among
them two complete Masses, two Magnificats, a Salve Regina, four attributed
Passion settings, with other sacred works and four composition with Spanish
texts. Anchieta was among the leading Spanish composers of sacred music of his
time. His writing is largely designed for the ample resources of the court
chapel of the Reyes Catholicos.
The composer Francisco de Peñalosa, whose Sancta mater istud
agas, once attributed to Josquin, is included between the Credo and the
Offertorium, was held in even higher esteem than Anchieta, praised by his near
contemporary, Cristobal de Villalón, as better than Apollo, the inventor of
music. He joined the royal chapel in 1498 and served as maestro di capilla to a
grandson of King Ferdinand. With the death of the King in 1516 and the
accession of Charles V, with his own capilla flamenca, he left the Spanish court,
serving briefly in Seville at the cathedral. In 1517 he became a member of the
papal chapel of Pope Leo X. On the latter’s death in 1521 he returned to
Seville, where he had intermittently held a disputed benefice in absentia over
a number of years. He died there in 1528.
The organist Francisco Fernández Palero, whose glosa
(elaboration) of a Josquin Kyrie is included, served as organist at the royal
chapel in Granada for some forty years. He died there in 1597. Juan de Urreda,
perhaps of Flemish origin as Johannes Wreede of Bruges, served the first Duke
of Alba and is recorded in 1477 as Maestro di capilla to King Ferdinand V. His
compositions had wide currency, in particular his hymn Pange lingua, making use
of the traditional Spanish Mozarabic melody. Antonio de Cabezón, the blind
organist and composer whose glosa on the Pange lingua is included, belongs to a
slightly later generation. He was born about 1510 near Burgos and served as
organist to the wife of Charles V, Queen Isabella, and then of Philip II. He
died in Madrid in 1566.
Anchieta’s Missa Sine nomine, also called the Missa quarti
toni, is here presented together with motets and pieces relevant to the
liturgy, with the intention of evoking the sound of a liturgical ceremony of
the period of the composer. All the pieces are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin,
In honorem Beatae Mariae Virginis. The well-known melody of L’homme armé is
used by Anchieta in the third voice of the Agnus Dei, and partly in the Kyrie,
Sanctus and Benedictus of the Mass, while the principal theme of the Gloria is
from Mass XV of the Graduale Romanum. His Salve Regina alternates Gregorian
chant and polyphony in ten sections.
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ANCHIETA: Missa Sine Nomine