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Francisco Correa de Arauxo (1584-1654)
Libro de Tientos
Bernard Foccroulle (organ, virginals)
InAlto/Lambert Colson
rec. 2019/20, Castaño del Robledo, Marchena, Lermam Tordesillas, Spain; Grimbergen, Sint-Truiden, Belgium
No texts included
Reviewed as a stereo 16/44 download with pdf booklet from Outhere
RICERCAR RIC435 [4 CDs: 280]

Spanish organ music is seldom part of recitals by organists. That is largely due to the fact that such music requires instruments which are rare outside Spain. On organs built in a different tradition the repertoire does hardly come off. That is to say: that is the general opinion. However, things may be a bit different, if we have to believe Bernard Foccroulle, in the liner-notes to his complete recording of the oeuvre of Francisco Correa de Arauxo.

Before turning to these issues, let us first have a look at the biography of a composer, whose works are often included in recordings of Iberian organ music, but about whose life is not known that much. He was born in Seville, where he lived for most of his life. He was just fifteen when he was appointed organist of the collegiate church of S Salvador, but for many years he had a rival in the person of Juan Picafort. However, he was able to hold that position until 1636. He had applied for several posts elsewhere, but to no avail. In 1636 he moved to Jaén, where he took the post of organist at the Cathedral. In 1640 he moved to Segovia where he occupied the post of prebendary. There he also died.

Foccroulle notes that in his experience Correa de Arauxo is hardly known, even among lovers of organ music. He himself regularly played works by him, and as he uses to play very different instruments, one may wonder whether they are suitable for these pieces. And that brings us to the issue of the organs used for this recording. Foccroulle points out that in the course of the 17th century innovations in organ building, such as horizontal 'chamade' reeds and swell boxes containing echo cornets, resulted in the instruments that are mostly used for performances and recordings today. The composers of earlier times used to play instruments which stylistically have their roots in organ building in the Netherlands. "Given its polyphonic density, Correa's music calls for the transparent clarity that is a characteristic of Renaissance and early 17th-century instruments. What is more, the instruments that Correa played and heard in Seville were mainly Flemish organs: Cabezón had invited the Brebos family from Antwerp to build the four organs of the Escorial, after which organ builders from Flanders and Northern France had come to most of the major Spanish cities to build instruments that revolutionised the late medieval organ. The Antwerp organ builder Joos Swijsen, known as 'maese Jorge', built an organ for the cathedral of Seville in 1579, which he then revised to a great extent a few years later." This can hardly surprise as under Charles V and Philip II there was a close connection between Spain and the (southern) Netherlands. One of the most revered ensembles at the court was the so-called Capilla Flamenca.

As far as the instruments are concerned, one thing is essential. Spanish organs usually had just one manual and no pedal. In order to be able to distinguish between a solo part (or several solo parts) and accompaniment, the single manual was split into two halves, each with its own stops. The repertoire attests to that: many tientos have the addition de medio registro de tiple or de baxon. The former means that the solo part is in the treble and is to be played with the right hand, whereas pieces with the latter addition have the solo part in the bass, to be played by the left hand. Only in a very few cases Correa de Arauxo specifies the stops to be used. Nearly all the pieces from his pen bear the title tiento. The term is derived from the Spanish verb tentar (to try out, to attempt, to test). Tientos can be compared with free forms as fantasia, toccata or prelude. As one can see in the tracklist, they are written in the various church modes in use at the time. Foccroulle believes the modes have been chosen for expressive reasons: "The dominant characteristics of Correa's musical language for me are his search for expressivity, a decided taste for emphatic contrasts as well as chiaroscuro, and great rhythmic imagination together with dazzling bursts of virtuosity." His frequent use of dissonances are part of it. It is notable that at several moments Correa de Arauxo makes use of a sign - a small hand and a raised index finger - to indicate such dissonances which at the time may have raised criticism from the advocates of traditional rules with regard to counterpoint. It is not only in the department of harmony that Correa de Arauxo is his own man, he is also quite original in the field of rhythm.

One may wonder why this recording also includes music by other composers, and vocal music to boot. The entire output of Correa de Arauxo is included in Libro de tientos y discursos de música practica, y theorica de organo intitulado Facultad organica of 1626, short Facultad organica. In the preface the composer frequently refers to music that inspired him. Foccroulle: "As I read and reread the preface and the comments dotted throughout his Facultad Orgánica, I was struck by the number of references to composers of previous generations: not only the Iberian composers Antonio de Cabezón, Francisco Guerrero, Manoel Rodrigues Coelho, but also the Franco-Flemish composers Nicolas Gombert, Josquin Desprez, Pierre de la Rue Thomas Crécquillon and Roland de Lassus." The additional pieces document both the importance of vocal polyphony and the practice of instrumental ornamentation in Correa de Arauxo's output.

The four CDs are different with regard to the instruments used and the contribution of voices and instruments. On the first disc, Foccroulle plays two instruments. The first is the Flemish organ of Castaño del Robledo, the second a Flemish virginal, a so-called 'mother and child' muselaar, a copy of an instrument by Ioannes Ruckers of 1623. Flemish harpsichords were in use in Spain in Correa's time. The second disc brings us to the Collegiate Church of Lerma, which has two organs built in 1616 and 1617 respectively by Diego de Quijano, organ builder to the King and grandson of a Flemish organ builder. This church also owns two manuscripts with instrumental versions of works by Flemish and Spanish masters. Some of these are included here. The last pieces of disc 2 are played on an organ of a somewhat later date in the Santa Maria in Tordesillas. The third disc is devoted to liturgical music: the hymn Lauda Sion, in honour of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Song of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. Around them we hear a number of liturgical pieces by composers Correa mentions in his Facultad organica. The programme was recorded at the Abbey of Grimbergen in Belgium. The fourth disc was recorded on the latest organ in this project: the Chavarria organ of 1765 in the church of San Juan Bautista in Marchena (Andalusia).

The vocal and instrumental items are mostly performed without organ. However, there are also some pieces in which the organ is joined by a wind instrument, mostly Lambert Colson's cornett, but in one item a bass sackbut, played by Bart Vroomen. Foccroulle admits that it is not known whether Correa de Arauxo ever performed his tientos with instrumental assistance, "although he does mention several wind instruments, notably the cornett, the chirimia and the dulzaina; he also notes the exceptional virtuosity of the trombonist Gregorio de Lozoya." This combination is based on his experiences in performances with Colson.

Although Correa de Arauxo's keyboard music has been recorded complete before, there can be no doubt about the importance of this project. It is a result of years of experience in performance of these pieces and thorough study of the sources and performance practice in Correa's time. Foccroulle is a brilliant player who has a vast experience in early music and in playing all kinds of historic instruments. The choice of organs is often surprising and offers a new perspective on Correa's music. The decision to include vocal and instrumental music from Correa's world is another asset of this project. The singers and players all deliver excellent performances.

This is a monument for a composer who is not as well known as he should be. It deserves a special recommendation. This is a set no lover of organ music of the renaissance or early baroque period should miss.

Johan van Veen

CD 1: Flemish and Spanish influences
Tiento 22 de sexto tono
Tiento 39 de medio registro de tiple de quarto tono
Tiento 7 de setimo tono
Tiento 40 de medio registro de baxon de noveno tono
Tiento 47 de medio registro de tiple de octavo tono
Thomas Crecquillon (1505-1557)
Par tous moyens**
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
Tiento 5 de quinto tono
Tiento 19 de quarto tono
Philippe Verdelot (1485-1552)
Ultimi miei sospiri**
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
Tiento 35 de medio registro de baxon de primero tono
Tiento 36 de medio registro de tiple de decimo tono
Tiento 21 de sexto tono
Tiento 17 de quarto tono
Tiento 34 de medio registro de baxon de primero tono
Tiento 59 de medio registro de tiple de segundo tono

CD 2: From Renaissance to Baroque
Thomas Crecquillon
Magna et mirabilia**
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
La cancion de Tomas Crequilion Gaybergier
Tiento 53 de medio registro de dos tiples de segundo tono
Tiento 25 de tiple de septimo tono
Tiento 62 de primero tono
Nicolas Gombert (1495-1556)
O Gloriosa Dei Genitrix*
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
Tiento 18 de quarto tono
Tiento 44 de medio registro de tiple de sexto tono
Nicolas Gombert
Mon Seul à 7**
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
Tiento 33 de baxon de septimo
Tiento 6 de sexto tono
Tiento 31 de medio registro de baxon de septimo tono
Tiento 26 de medio registro de tiple de septimo tono
Tiento 56 de medio registro de dos baxones de quarto tono
Tiento 23 de sexto tono, sobre la Batalla de Morales

CD 3: Sacred works
Canto Llano de la Inmaculada Concepcion de la Virgen MARIA Señora nuestra
Tiento 54 de dos tiples de septimo tono
Josquin Desprez (c1440/45-1521)
Ave Maria a 5*
Alonso Lobo (1555-1617)
Beata Dei Genitrix*/**
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
Tiento 4 de quarto tono
Pierre de La Rue (1460-1518)
Missa Ave Maria (Sanctus)*/**
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
Tres glosas sobre el canto llano de la Immaculada Concepcion de la Virgen Maria Señora nuestra
Tiento 9 de noveno tono **/organ
Francisco Rognoni (1570-1626)
Susanna d'Orlando (Lassus) (sackbut/organ)
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
Tiento 51 de baxon de dezimo tono
Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599) / Juan de Urreda (1430-1482) / Bricio Gaudi
Pange lingua */**
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
Tiento 53 de dos tiples de segundo tono
Prosa del santissimo sacramento */**

CD 4: Chiaroscuro in Correa's work
Tiento y Discurso 2 de segundo tono
Tiento 38 de tiple de quarto tono
Tiento 37 de medio registro de baxon de noveno tono
Tiento 16 de quarto tono, a modo de cancion
Jacobus Clemens non Papa (1510-1555)
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
Tiento 29 de medio registro de tiple de septimo tono (organ/cornett)
Tiento 15 de quarto tono
Tiento 14 de primero tono**
Tiento 42 de tiple de doceno tono (organ/cornett)
Tiento 49 de baxon de duodecimo tono
Nicolas Gombert
Ayme qui voldra**
Francisco Correa de Arauxo
Tiento 60 de medio registro de baxon de segundo tono
Tiento 52 a cinco de primero tono

*vocal ensemble
**instrumental ensemble

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