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The long-awaited 2nd volume of the magnificient Vivanco’s motets, available at last!  

Dámaso y Dirk In memoriam Dámaso García Fraile (1936- 2021) and Dirk Snellings (1959- 2014)

In 2016 the Cantus label released a wonderful disc, the first volume dedicated to the motets of Sebastián de Vivanco (C 9649 Vivanco: Sancti et Justi. Motecta, 1610) performed by none other than vocal ensemble Capilla Flamenca and instrumental group Oltremontano, all under the direction of the then recently deceased Dirk Snellings, founder of Capilla Flamenca, who died in 2014. That recording came from the sessions that took place at the Irish College in Leuven (Belgium) in 2002, which were published in a local edition in Spain. But Dirk Snellings asked José Carlos Cabello, owner and artistic director of Cantus, that this now legendary recording be reissued by Cantus in an international edition, which was released two years after his death.

That impressive disc from 2002 was followed in 2004 by the efforts of Dámaso García Fraile, the same professor and musicologist from Salamanca who had prepared a new edition of Vivanco's motets, and who coordinated those recording sessions, bringing together the same performers again, at his own expense, in the chapel of the Irish College in Louvain to record a new selection of 18 motets. For years, García Fraile sought funding to cover the costs he had incurred and to publish the recording, but he never received it and the project was forgotten. Sadly, Dámaso García Fraile died in April 2021 without seeing his dream fulfilled, but when his family gave the necessary permission for his library and archive to be catalogued and ordered, not only was all the recorded material found, but also the correspondence between Dirk Snellings and himself. The CES (Centro de Estudios Salmantinos) contacted José Carlos Cabello in mid-2002 and, as Cantus had produced the first truly international edition of Volume 1 of Vivanco's motets, asked him to publish this second volume as well, and also as a tribute to both the musicologist and the conductor, both of whom had sadly passed away. And here we present the wonderful result of their efforts, in a deluxe edition with extensive musicological notes and full information on each piece and, as a whole, on the magnificent motets of Vivanco, a figure who can be equated with that of his contemporary (though obviously much better known) Tomás Luis de Victoria.

In November and December 2002, and again in July 2004, the wonderful vocal ensemble Capilla Flamenca joined forces with the cornets, sackbuts and bassoon ensemble (and viols, or more exactly bowed vihuelas on the second CD) Oltremontano in the chapel of the Irish College in Leuven (Belgium) to record two legendary discs with a selection of 37 motets by the Avila-born composer Sebastián de Vivanco. The choice of Capilla Flamenca and Oltremontano to perform these extraordinary works was no accident. Musically, few performers could be better placed to rescue these beautiful motets than these two universally renowned ensembles. It was also Artus Taberniel, the Antwerp printer based in Salamanca, who published the three books of Vivanco's polyphony that have come down to us. And there is no more appropriate vocal group than the Capilla Flamenca, which takes its name from the famous chapel formed by Charles I of Spain, who, when he left the Netherlands in 1517, chose some of the best musicians there to accompany him on his journey to Spain.

As those who have bought or listened to the first volume (C 9649 Vivanco: Sancti et Justi. Motecta, 1610) already know, the versions proposed by Capilla Flamenca and Oltremontano are exceptional. Both in the more intimate motets and in the more jubilant ones, they bring out all the expressive and technical possibilities of the works: they emphasise the daring harmonies with augmented intervals, they underline the sudden changes of rhythm so typical of the seconda prattica, and they give great clarity to the imitative passages at the beginning of each phrase. They alternate the purely a cappella interpretation of some motets with the instrumental versions, or they look for readings in which voices and instruments merge to create truly fascinating colours. These are undoubtedly interpretations at the highest level, for a music of great finesse and quality, reconciling modernity and tradition in a time of profound change.

Sebastián de Vivanco: Motecta festorum, 1610 (vol. 2)

  • Capilla Flamenca artistic director: Dirk Snellings

Marnix de Cat, Gunther Vandeven, countertenors

Jan Caals, tenor

Lieven Termont, baritone

Dirk Snellings, bass

Oltremontano - artistic director: Wim Becu

Wim Becu, Simen Van Mechelen, sackbuts

Doron David Sherwin, Marleen leicher, cornets

Wouter Verschuren, dulcian

Piet Stryckers, Tom Devaere, viols (bowed vihuelas)


Aditional information

  • Total time total 52:30

    with a newly-written articles by Dr. Javier Marín, University ofJaén, CES (Centro de Estudios Salmantinos) and an extended study of every piece and the performances by José Carlos Cabello.

    Recording place Irish College Chapel, Leuwen (BE), July 2004

    Engineering and digital edition Jo Cops

    Production Paul Belaerts

    Executive production Dámaso García Fraile

    Design and booklet cordination José Carlos Cabello

    Source Sebastián de Vivanco, Motecta (Salamanca, Artus Taberniel, 1610)

    Cover Alejandro de Loarte, a detail from "El milagro de San Bernardo" (ca. 1620), Museo del Prado, Madrid. All rights reserved.
    ✋ Please adjust first the VOLUME control on the SPEAKER ⇓ before playing ▶

    Lazarus mortuus est a 4 (Capilla Flamenca)
    Da nobis pacem, a 4 (Oltremontano)
    Charistas Pater est, a 9 (Capilla Flamenca & Oltremontano)
Due to changes in Cantus' digital distribution, this CD will not be available on digital platforms until around March 2023. If you would like to purchase it in any format (FLAC, WAV, mp3 or others) along with the full digital booklet, send a message to and we will give you instructions on how to get it immediately.