Gaspar Fernandes

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Alias: Gaspar Fernandez


Born: c.1565, Evora, Portugal

Died: 1629, Puebla, Mexico


Gaspar Fernandes (sometimes written "Fernandez", the Spanish version of his surname) was born between 1565 and 1570 in Evora, Portugal. By 1590 Fernandes was serving as both singer and instrumentalist in the capela of Evora Cathedral; in 1599 he was engaged, first as organist, then as maestro for the Cathedral of Guatemala (now Antigua). Seven years later he left Guatemala for Puebla, where he secured the position of maestro de capilla (chapel master). There he remained active until his death in 1629. In his declining years he was assisted by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, who was to become his successor at Puebla. What Fernandes left behind has charm and ingenuity, demonstrating his skill as a composer. He left behind a considerable quantity of ethnic and dialect villancicos, some of them in the Amerindian dialects spoken in the region around Puebla. These include the Tlaxcaran dialect of Nahuatl, tongue of the Aztec empire. Some of his most popular works include Tleycantimo choquiliya and Eso rigor e repente, both part of this collection of some 250 villancicos, which form the largest extant collection of secular music from the 17th-century New World.

View the Wikipedia article on Gaspar Fernandes.

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