Francisco de Peñalosa (c. 1470 – 1528) was a Spanish
composer of the middle Renaissance. He was born in
Talavera de la Reina in the province of Toledo. He
spent most of his career in Seville, serving as the
maestro di capilla, though he also spent time in
Burgos, and three years in Rome at the papal chapel
(1518–1521). He died in Seville.
Peñalosa was one of the most famous Spanish composers
of the generation before Cristóbal de Morales, and his
compositions were highly regarded at the time.
Unfortunately for him, his music was not widely
distributed; he did not benefit from the invention of
printing, since he mostly remained in Spain, away from
cities such as Venice and Antwerp which were the first
centers of printed music. Later generations of Spanish
composers—Guerrero, Morales, Victoria—went to Italy for
parts of their careers, where their compositions were
printed and were as widely distributed as the music of
the Franco-Flemish composers who dominated music in
Europe in the 16th century.
Peñalosa wrote masses, Magnificat settings, motets and
hymns. Eleven secular compositions have survived,
including an ensalada (a form of quodlibet) Por las
sierras de Madrid for six voices.
Peñalosa was evidently fond of contrapuntal puzzles and
canons, as evidenced by the quodlibet, and by the Agnus
Dei of his Missa Ave Maria peregrina, which combines a
plainsong tune with a retrograde (backwards) version of
a famous secular song by Hayne van Ghizeghem.
One of his motets (Sancta mater istud agas) was long
assumed to be by Josquin des Prez, which indicates both
the stylistic similarity of their music and the high
quality of Peñalosa's.
Although originally created for Choir (SATB), I created
this Interpretation of the Missa "El Ojo" for
Double-Reed Quartet (2 Oboes, English Horn & Bassoon).