I was delighted to be asked to be involved with this project by saxophonist, Sam Corkin. The brief, to re-work and re-imagine some vocal music, was broad and I was drawn to explore some music from the Spanish Palace Song book. This bumper Renaissance collection is housed in the Royal palace in Madrid and dating back to the time of the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella. One of the composers who features in this multi-faceted collection is Juan del Encina, poet, playwright and composer. Many of his compositions reflect on the religious upheaval of the time as the monarchs’ attempts for religious unity forced the Jews and Muslims out of Spain. Una Sañosa Porfia is written from the perspective of King Boabdil, the sultan of Granada, who was forced to surrender his lands and hi empire to the crusading catholics.
Alongside this piece performed by Sam and the cathedral choir, I’ve written a companion piece to be performed by the newly-formed festival chorus. Reyes de Gloria Nombrada draws on several of Encina’s ballads of politiocal propaganda, celebrating the over throwing of the city of Granada.