Arte de Tanger: Gonzalo de Baena's New Keyboard Method (1540)

Arte de Tanger: Gonzalo de Baena's New Keyboard Method (1540)
Artist Bruno Forst organ
Format 2 CD
Cat. number 95618
EAN code 5028421956183
Release February 2018

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    About this release

    Gonzalo de Baena’s Arte novamente inventada pera aprender a tãger (Newly devised method for learning to play) was the first book of keyboard music ever printed on the Iberian Peninsula. Lost for centuries, it was rediscovered in 1992, and early music keyboardist Bruno Forst has since painstakingly decoded its unique tablature system and edited a modern edition, published in 2012.

    Baena compiled mostly polyphonic vocal music by various composers, from the old Flemish Masters he himself studied, to contemporaries thriving alongside him in the rich musical environment of Spain under the Catholic Monarchs, along with pieces of his own and several by his son, Antonio. To disseminate this music in arrangements for keyboardists, professional or amateur, Baena transcribed them in an easy to read tablature notation and ordered the pieces in increasing level of difficulty.

    While his collection, printed in 1540, was pedagogical in intent, Baena nevertheless left a valuable historic document to posterity, creating a faithful depiction of the place and time that gave birth to later masters such as Antonio de Cabezón.

    In 1992 a (misfiled) manuscript was discovered in the Madrid Palacio Real Library: the Arte Novamente Inventada pera aprender a tager (Newly devised method for learning to play), which proved to be the first book of keyboard music to be printed in the Iberian Peninsula, published in 1540. The author, Gonzalo de Baena, was a Castillian musician in the service of the King of Portugal.
    The book is a method designed to teach amateurs without theoretical knowledge to play a keyboard instrument through the use of a simple tablature that represents the notes by letters. The pieces consist primarily of transcriptions of vocal works, but also purely instrumental music is included. It is a valuable historical document, faithfully depicting the cultural and musical environment of early 16-th century Iberia. Composers included are Ockeghem, Obrecht, Desprez, Compère, Brunel, Agricola, Gascogne.
    Organist and musicologist Bruno Forst has painstakingly deciphered and prepared the manuscript, and performs it complete on this new recording, adding suitable embellishments in the 16-th century style: clearly a labour of love, bringing to life this musical treasure after 472 years!

    Recorded in Zaragoza (July 2013) and Madrid (April 2014), Spain.
    Booklet contains detailed notes on this extraordinary early Iberian keyboard tablature collection, as well as information and specifications for each organ.
    Full organ registrations for each track available at

    Track list

    Disk 1

    1. In diebus illis
    2. Two verses of a Magnificat
    3. Pange lingua
    4. Congratulamini mihi omnes
    5. Kyrie eleison de nuestra señora
    6. Unica est columba mea
    7. Kyrie eleison 4º tono
    8. Kyrie eleison 8º tono
    9. Conditor alme siderum
    10. Clamabat autem mulier cananea
    11. No title
    12. Patrem omnipotentem
    13. Jesu nostra redemption
    14. Deposuit potentes
    15. Si dedero
    16. Ave maris stella
    17. Agnus dei
    18. Kyrie eleison
    19. Sanctus
    20. Pleni sunt
    21. Kyrie eleison 6º tono
    22. Sanctus

    Disk 2

    1. Domine deus
    2. 1º tono
    3. Credo
    4. Et iterum venturus est cum Gloria
    5. Benedictus
    6. Pleni sunt
    7. Agnus dei
    8. Benedictus
    9. Sanctus
    10. Benedictus. Mass fortuna desperate
    11. Pleni sunt
    12. Si sumpsero penas meas
    13. In pace, in idipsum dormiam
    14. Si dedero
    15. Gloria
    16. Agnus dei
    17. Sanctus
    18. Patrem omipotentem
    19. Agnus dei
    20. Mater patris
    21. Agnus dei
    22. Hélas que pourra devenir
    23. Motete del ciego