The Maestro


lonso Xuárez (1640-1696) obtained the yearning chapel master post in Cuenca in 1664 with the favorable recommendations and references of three highly renowned musicians who run the main musical institutions in the Spanish musical scene at that time: Luis Patiño, chapel master at the Royal Chapel, Juan de Padilla, chapel master at the Toledo cathedral and Tomás de Miciezes, his master. Previously, this one had occupied the same post as Juan de Padilla in Toledo, where Tomás de Miciezes may have met a Xuárez child, before becoming chapel master of the Descalzas Reales Monastery in Madrid. Xuárez may have followed him till here since it was this when he was taken on by the Cuenca Cathedral Chapter when at the age of 25 years. These data show that he was trained by prestigious musicians and that he was in contact with the most relevant musical movements at that period of time.

At a first stage, he served as chapel master during eleven years and, at the same time, he took over the direction of the San José College, being its first rector. This institution was founded in 1668 to train the choir infants. This institution was hosted by a splendid building obtained thanks to the will legal requirements of his founder, the canon Diego Mazo de la Vega, who granted the institution, among other benefits, an annual income support of 1500 ducats. In addition, there must have been to sum up others, like the 2000 ducats given by Andrés de Pacheco´s will who was bishop in Cuenca and later on Inquisitor General and Patriarca de las Indias Occidentales. This institution remained until 1929 and, according to its setting up articles, it aimed to bring up, support and train the twelve choir infants, whose task was to serve in the cathedrals to highlight the solemn ceremonies.

In 1675 he was offered a post as chapel master at Seville cathedral due to his considerable prestige, and he took it up without any competitive examination. He occupied this post until 1684 when, much to the Seville Chapter regret, he had to return to Cuenca because of health problems. Here, he was welcomed with great enthusiasm as he was awarded important economic improvements by the bishop Alonso Antonio San Martín, King Philip II of Spain´s son. He kept working till he died on June 26th of 1696.

He composed several works, almost entirely religious music. His works display a highlight polychoral writing accompanied by different instruments placing an emphasis on modulation and a daring use of dissonance.

Most of his work is preserved in the Cuenca cathedral archives and another important output is found in the Seville cathedral. Moreover, some of his other compositions are kept in cathedrals scattered all over Spain like Santiago de Compostela, Valladolid, Salamanca, Valencia or Las Palmas de Gran Canaria., and this fact shows us he gained a great prestige at that time.

His prominence and reputation were also gained by the prestigious of some of his pupils like the brothers Diego y Sebastián Durón who acceded to decisive posts due to his recommendations. Sebastián Durón is regarded one of the most outstanding musicians of the Spanish Baroque and he was appointed master of the Royal Chapter of King Charles II.