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Juan del Encina

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Aliases: Enzina, Juan dell; del Encina, Juan; del Enzina, Juan; de la Encina, Juan


Born: 12 July 1468

Died: 1529


Born in Salamanca, Spain, in July 12, 1468, his original name was "Juan de Fermoselle", taking "del Encina" in 1490 (perhaps his mother's last name). In the Universidad de Salamanca (Salamanca University) he studied Law achieving his doctorate. Despite his father being shoemaker, some of del Encina's brothers received a good education and reached important positions; one of them (probably the oldest one), Diego de Fermoselle, was cathedratic of music in Salamanca University and one of his works remains in the "Cancionero Musical de Palacio" (Palace's Music Songbook).

In 1490, del Encina became Choir's Chaplain at Salamanca's Cathedral, job that he lost for not becoming a priest, serving instead (1492-1502) to some aristocratic courts (in ex.: the Duke of Alba). In the meanwhile del Encina tried to become the main singer at the Cathedral, but in vain, because the position was given to his coleague (and some kind of Nemesis, for some people), Lucas Fernández. But what del Encina didn't find in Spain he found in Rome. In 1502 Alessandro VI (Pope) finally gave him the position at the Cathedral. The favor that del Encina had at Rome (the Vatican) still continued under the next Pope: Julius II, who gave to him the position of "Arcediano" at the Cathedral of Malaga.

In 1519, del Encina was finally ordered as priest and decided to celebrate his first mass in Jerusalem. From 1519 to his death, del Encina was Prior of the Cathedral of Leon.

The exact date of his death remains unknown, but it could have been late in 1529 or in the beginning of 1530, because his Last Will document was open on January 14, 1530, and his position as Prior in Leon was transferred to other on January, 10.

Del Encina not only was a great composer, but a good poet as well. Today we have just 61 of his music works (it's not known how much is lost). The main source of his music is the "Cancionero Musical de Palacio" mentioned above, but it is not the only one. Must be added the following:

  • Cancionero Musical de Segovia (circa 1500?)
  • Firenze (National Library) Magl. XIX, 107 bis
  • Lib. II, Frottole, 1516. (Bibl. Marucelliana, Firenze)
  • Cancionero Musical de Barcelona (Central Libray, MS454)
  • Cancionero Musical de Elva (Hortensia Library, MS11793)
  • D.B. (D. Joao IV, King of Portugal, Lisboa 1649, Venice 1666)

Main source of this article: Juan del Encina Poesía Lírica y Cancionero Musical, Ed. Castalia, Madrid, 1975.

View the Wikipedia article on Juan del Encina.

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