Sebastián de Vivanco (c. 1551 - 1622) was a Spanish
priest and composer of the Renaissance. He was born in
Ávila, like Tomás Luis de Victoria; however, the exact
date of his birth is unknown. It is hypothesized that
he was born a few years after Victoria and that they
both knew each other as children and sang together at
the chapel of the Cathedral of Ávila. During the time
that Vivanco sang in the chorus, the maestri di
cappella were Gerónimo de Espinar, Bernardino de Ribera
(1559) and Juan Navarro Hispalensis (1563). This last
composer had the most profound influence on Vivanco.
After 1566, with the change in his voice, Vivanco
commenced studies as a priest, as Victoria had
Around 1576, while still a subdeacon, he was named
maestro di cappella at the Cathedral of Lérida, but
shortly thereafter, on July 4, 1576, he was dismissed
from this position. Upon his return to Castille, in
February 1577, he was named maestro di cappella at the
Cathedral of Segovia, a position of higher prestige and
pay than the previous ones. He moved there with his
mother and remained there for the following ten years.
During this period he became a deacon and then, in
1581, was ordained as a priest.
In 1588, he returned to his native city, Ávila, in
order to take charge of the cathedral chapel. He
remained here until 1602, when he took possession of
the position of maestro di cappella at the Cathedral of
Salamanca. This was his last position and the most
important to his musical contributions. His three
publications were printed during his time in this city.
On February 19, 1603, he became professor of music at
the University of Salamanca, and on March 4 of the same
year, he received the degree of Master of Arts honoris
causa. Vivanco was occupied with his position in the
cathedral of the university until his death, on October
The bulk of Vivanco's surviving work was published in
three books in Salamanca between 1607 and 1610 by the
printer Artus Taberniel of Antwerp, who by then was the
official printer of the University of Salamanca. The
books contain a selection probably chosen by the
composer himself of his best pieces, spanning over 40
years of work.
Although originally created for four (4) Voices (SATB),
I created this Arrangement of the "O quam suavis est"
(O how sweet is thy spirit, Lord) for Double-Reed
Quartet (2 Oboes, English Horn & Bassoon).