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Cristóbal de Morales

Spanish Died 00 1553

Cristóbal de Morales was born in Seville, which at the time could boast a proud recent musical heritage - Escobar and Peñalosa held positions at the cathedral, two of Spain's most illustrious composers.  Morales received an extensive education in latin, the works of Cicero and various other arts including music, and in 1526 he left Seville to begin work as maestro de capilla at Avila.  After resigning in 1531 it is thought he went to Naples, but his next documented appearance is his appointment in Rome in 1535 as a singer in the papal choir.  The choir frequently received financial gifts from visiting dignitaries, and Morales had to pay the existing members over a month's salary for access to his share.

Morales' position enabled his compositions to be performed in front of many influential heads of state - in 1538 his motet  Jubilate Deo omnis terra was written for and heard by the pope, Charles V and François I.  His works soon spread across the continent, and even to the New World - apt, for Morales' parents had named him after Cristóbal Colon, or as we know him, Columbus.  Tiring of the responsibilities of his position and his health ailing, Morales resigned in 1545 and travelled to Toledo, where his published masses had earned him a prestigious reputation.  From this, Morales was able to exact a handsome salary; however, he was obliged to provide food and shelter for his choirboys, and the rising price of food forced him into debt and resignation.  In 1548 he began working for the Duke of Arcos at Marchena, and in 1551 he was appointed maestro de capilla at Málaga.  Unfortunately, relations with his choristers were strained, and he was forced to beg the people of Toledo for a second chance.  Before he could compete for the post, he died.

MIDI FILE - Emendemus in Mulius (2'51'')

Related composers: Tomás Luis de Victoria

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