Sebastián Raval (c. 1550-1604) was a Spanish composer, friar and soldier, active in Italy. He apparently worked as a musician at the Urbino
court of Duke Francesco. He published a book of motets, another of canzonets and one of madrigals in Rome.
Raval was famous for his competitive personality: He challenged Giovanni Maria Nanino, Francesco Soriano and Achille Falcone to musical contests between 1592 and 1600.
The Motectorum quinque vocum is the only printed sacred music by Raval that remains extant nowadays. It is an exhaustive collection of 28 works that includes an extensive range of styles: homophonic, polychoral and canonic motets, from four to sixteen voices.
Some extraordinary works in the Motectorum quinque vocum are the canon for sixteen voices Vivat Alexander (a nod to the dedicatee of the collection, the Cardinal Alessandro Peretti di Montalto) or the outstanding seven-voice Credo quod Redemptor meus with its canonic cantus firmus, the six-voice Salve regina or the polychoral (with two choirs of three voices each) Panis quem ego dabo.
Perhaps the most remarkable work in the Motectorum quinque vocum is the five-voice Iste qui est contempsit. This motet, that has to be performed at a slower tempo than usual (which is suggested by its time signature and the short note values), is based on a mensural canon, producing a very similar effect to the legendary motet by Miserere nostri by Thomas Tallis.
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Sebastián Raval (c.
quinque vocum (Rome, 1593)
28 motets for 4vv,
5vv, 6vv, 7vv and 16vv
©2022 Jorge Martín