Cristóbal de Morales

(c.1500 - 1553)

Cristobal de Morales

Spanish composer. Choirmaster at Avila cathedral from 1526 and at Plasencia cathedral from 1527/8-31. In 1535-45 he sang in the Papal chapel in Rome, probably as a tenor, and on his return to Spain resumed his career as a choirmaster, at Toledo cathedral till 1547 and at Malaga cathedral from 1551, in the meantime serving the Dukes of Arcos at Marchena (near Seville).

Apart from one or two secular pieces, Morales' output consists entirely of sacred music‹twenty-one Masses, sixteen Magnificats, 91 motets, eleven hymns and a set of Lamentations. He was the most widely praised of the sixteenth century Spanish polyphonists for many years after his death, and his Magnificats were especially popular. He himself regarded the Masses highly, supervising their publication personally and writing more of them than did any other polyphonist of his generation, or indeed any Spaniard of the period. They illustrate his superb contrapuntal technique--more refined than Josquin 's and looking ahead to Palestrina (who in fact based a Mass on his fine motet O sacrum convivium --and his own discerning parody technique, whereby he enriched and transformed his models. Morales wrote in a severely modal idiom; his motets are more intense and personal, often using a cantus firmus with a separate text that glosses or alludes to the principal one ( Emendemus in melius, for example).

A Partial Cristobal Morales Discography | Morales' Missarum Liber Secundus |  IVL: The Iberian Masters