Enríquez de Valderrábano


Born: 1500; Peñaranda del Duero, Spain   Died: 1557; Marchena, Spain  
Two contemporaries of Enríquez de Valderrábano, Fray Juan Bermudo and Suárez de Figueroa, both agreed that Valderrábano was one of the best musicians of his time. They praise his invention and skill upon the Spanish-stringed instrument known as the vihuela. Some of Enríquez de Valderrábano's music, in fact, survives, as he printed a large collection in 1547 of Libro de musica de vihuela intitulado Silva de sirenas (Book of music for the vihuela Read more entitled Forest of the Sirens). Yet the only biographical details at all that tell of his life come from the scant notes in the preface to this volume. Since he dedicated the entire book to the Count of Miranda, Fancisco de Zúñiga, it may be assumed that he worked at least partly for the Count's court; the preface also claims he lived in Peñaranda del Duero. Nothing else of his training, his life, or his other positions can be determined. The music surviving in the seven books of the Forest of the Sirens, however, demonstrates the worth and skill of Enríquez de Valderrábano as a musician. He contributed to all major genres of vihuela music, including arrangements of masses, motets, and madrigals (and some arrangements for two vihuelas); improvisations upon dance tunes and ground bass figures; and a number of highly original fantasias. Read less

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