Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Music in Spain in the 1670s through the eyes of Sébastien Chièze and Constantijn Huygens

In this contribution the various remarks about music in Spain that can be found in the correspondence between Sébastien Chièze (envoy on behalf of the Prince of Orange in Madrid) and Constantijn Huygens (The Hague) from 1672 to 1679 are dis-cussed. Huygens asked Chièze to find for him a copy of Salinas’s De musica (1577), as well as Spanish airs and pieces for guitar. It took Chièze two years to find a copy of De musica in Spain and have it sent safely to Holland. Huygens did not like the Spanish airs sent by Chièze, by composers such as Juan del Vado, José Marín, Cristóbal Galán, and Juan Hidalgo. He found them too “African”. Nor did he like the guitar tablature, which turned the notation as he was used to seeing it upside down. Chièze also had a guitar made for Huygens in Madrid, but this instrument also met with disapproval. In the end, Chièze asked two Bolognese acquaintances, Giulio and Guido Bovio, to search for a suitable lute for Huygens in Bologna. They found two, but it is unknown whether these ever arrived in Holland. The contribution shows the importance of foreign (diplomatic) contacts in the acquisition of musical articles, such as books about music, musical compositions and musical...

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