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Misa Haec est virgo sapiens

Francis Valls

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This mass, based on the plainchant Haec est virgo sapiens from the antiphon of the office of Lauds of the Common of Virgins (in Communi plurimarum Virginum), was composed by Francisco Valls (1671-1747), chapel master of Barcelona Cathedral from 1696, relieving John Barter in office, until his retirement in 1726. The full text of the antiphon is: Haec est virgo sapiens quam Dominus vigilantem invenit, which we could translate as: “This is a wise virgin whom the Lord found vigilant".

Valls was the center of a virulent controversy that lasted twenty-two years, according to Pedrell, due to a remote entrance of the ninth in the Qui tollis of his Scala Aretina mass in which more than 50 musicians from all over the peninsula participated, including the very master of the Royal Chapel of Naples, Alessandro Scarlatti. Valls's followers defended the flexible use of dissonances because ...they are the ones that beautify music to a high degree and Valls himself settled the issue with the idea that if the ancients had seen everything, we moderns had little left to invent. This famous dispute must be framed in the War of the Spanish Succession (1700-1714) and seemed to have more political overtones than strictly musical since Valls was a supporter of Archduke Carlos as well as Durón in Madrid, and his greatest detractors were related to the Bourbon side. who represented Felipe V.

We are facing one of the most representative composers of the peninsula and, however, one of the least programmed. With a great mastery of counterpoint and a delicate taste in textures, Opera Omnia wants to vindicate its figure with this mass that has not been played since its composer premiered it.

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