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Antonio Martin y Coll

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Biography

Although usually described as a composer, this late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Spanish musician was less a composer than a collector; very few pieces are known to have been composed by him, while a wealth of music by other composers is preserved in his four-volume organ music collection Flores de Música. The date and place of Martin y Coll's birth remain unknown, and the date of his death can only be estimated (ca. 1735, and Read more certainly not before 1733). Martin y Coll grew up in a monastery and eventually chose the life of a Franciscan friar for himself, spending the last few decades of his life at the monastery of San Francisco el Grande al Madrid; it would seem that he died there.

Martin y Coll was primarily an organist, and then probably secondly a theorist -- a pair of treatises dating from 1714 and 1734 respectively were likely the prize achievements of his life, even if today it is his skill as an archivist and compiler that endears him to musicologists. The four volumes of Flores de Música contain several hundred keyboard pieces, nearly all of which are anonymous. (Martin y Coll assumed that readers of his anthology would recognize the pieces immediately, and, as the pieces were probably rather famous ones at the time, he was most likely correct in the assumption). The authors of many of the pieces have been identified by modern scholars, however, and the list of composers included reads like a who's-who of music in Martin y Coll's day -- Corelli, Handel, Frescobaldi, Cabanilles, and Cabezón.

Martin y Coll issued a fifth volume of keyboard music (mostly for organ) at some point, called Ramillete oloroso: suabes flores de música para órgano -- and these 250-or-so pieces are definitely his own compositions. Read less

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