Pedro Rabassa (1683-1767)



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DS-0135
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Pedro Rabassa (1683-1767)
Miserere


Coro Juan Navarro Hispalensis
Conductor: Josep Cabré


 

PEDRO RABASSA

 

(1683-1767)

 

 

1. ATTENDITE POPULI 3’13”

 

2. O VOS OMNES 2’51”

 

3. NUNC DIMITIS 4’22”

 

4. ACCEPIT JESUS CALICEM 2’49”

 

5. STABAT MATER 6’31”

 

MISERERE

 

6. Christus Factus 1’57”

 

7. Mortem Autem 1’33”

 

8. Miserere 3’50”

 

9. Amplius 2’17”

 

10. Tibi Soli 2’30”

 

11. Ecce Anim 4’42”

 

12. Audi Tui 2’15”

 

13. Cor Mundum 1’49”

 

14. Redde Mihi 4’28”

 

15. Libera Me 1’47”

 

16. Quoniam 2’13”

 

17. Benigne Fac 2’23”

 

18. Tunc Imponent 2’44”

 

 

Coro y Capilla Instrumental

 

'Juan Navarro Hispalensis'

 

Director: Josep Cabré

 

 

 

 


About

Barcelona, Valencia and Seville are the three cities that marked the professional career of Pedro Rabassa. He was born in Barcelona in 1683, and grew up there as a choirboy in the cathedral, until he became a singer and harpist. These were the times of Francisco Valls, the author of the controversial Scala Aretina mass, whose influence was felt in Rabassa’s later works as a composer. After a brief period at the cathedral of Vic, where he became chapel-master in 1713, he then spent from 1714 to 1724 in charge of the chapel of Valencia cathedral. His arrival in Seville in July 1724 was to be the start of a long and fruitful creative period which lasted at least until his retirement in September 1757. He never left Seville, and died there on 12 December 1767.

The work of Rabassa, whose catalogue includes over four hundred pieces, kept mainly in the archives of Valencia and Andalusia, is therefore contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Frederic Haendel and Georg Telemann. He was also a contemporary of Domenico Scarlatti, who he very probably met in Seville when Scarlatti, accompanying María Bárbara de Braganza as a member of the ­retinue of Philip V and Isabel de Farnesio, lived in the city from 1728 to 1733. Curiously, Father Antonio Soler, in his Llave de la modulación of 1762, contemplated Rabassa’s skill in modulation, comparing him with none other than Domenico Scarlatti.

Philip V and Isabel de Farnesio’s special taste for Italian music and ­theatre would undoubtedly leave a profound mark on the taste of Seville. It is not in vain that the Royal Chapel, under Felipe Falconi and comprising mainly Italian singers and musicians, accompanied all of the operas, serenatas, dances and festivities that took place in the court during the four years of royal residence in the city. It is ­probable that Pedro Rabassa became familiar with Italian music in this ­period, though it was not his first experience of it. During his time in Barcelona, Rabassa would probably have come into contact with the chapel of music of the Archduke Carlos, which was then under the Neapolitan Giuseppe Porsile and was also made up mainly of Italian musicians. In fact, Rabassa had ­composed A la festiva noticia, his first ­documented work, for the coronation of the Archduke in 1705.

Although it could be said that Pedro Rabassa’s music is a worthy successor to the Spanish polyphonic tradition of the 17th ­century, especially as regards polychoral work, it is precisely the incorporation of elements, resources and forms of Italian origin that makes it really innovative. This circumstance was definitively to mark musical taste in the cathedral chapels that he led throughout his career.

Rabassa himself was to be the ­promoter of an important, definitive reform in the constitution of the chapel of music of the cathedral of Seville while he was master there. In September 1732, the chapter of Seville cathedral created six new positions for supernumerary musicians “for the better ­concert of the chapel of music of this Holy Church on the most solemn days... Four shall be violins and the two violones, a contrabass and a violoncello”. And so the violinists Pedro Dionisio de los Ríos, Manuel Portillo, Luis Harrer and Joseph Vázquez were immediately employed, as were the violoncellist Joseph Fernández Grande and the contrabassist Lorenzo Martín Reinoso, who would perform, together with the rest of the chapel of music, as required and in accordance with liturgical solemnity. By then, the chapel of Seville cathedral had a stable group of employees, including twelve or fifteen salaried singers, apart from the ­traditional bassoons, sackbuts, flageolets and cornets. To complete the group, there was the pair of large organs of the choir, whose construction has been started by Brother Domingo de Aguirre in 1724, and which were the ­responsibility of the head organist Joseph Muñoz de Montserrat, and one or two assistant organists. The incorporation of string instruments would suppose the ­adaptation of the chapel’s musical resources to modern musical taste and, in consequence, the gradual elimination of the ­flageolet and the cornet, which had completely disappeared when, in 1740, still with Rabassa as master, two oboes and a flute joined the cathedral’s musicians.