Juan del Encina,
(born July 12, 1468, Encinas?, near Salamanca, Castile—died
near the end of August 1529/30, León?, Spain), playwright,
poet, priest, and composer of secular vocal music, who was
the first Spanish dramatist to write specifically for
After youthful training as a chorister at Salamanca
cathedral (c. 1484) and at the University of Salamanca
(before 1490), Encina entered the service of the Duke of
Alba as a resident poet-dramatist-composer in 1492. He wrote
for the court a number of églogas (short pastoral plays)
incorporating music. Eight of his plays and most of his
poetry were collected and published in Cancionero in 1496.
Thereafter Encina lived much in Italy; he visited Rome at
least three times, gaining various ecclesiastical posts and
seeking the patronage of Pope Alexander VI, a Spaniard, in
securing a position in Spain. In 1519 he journeyed to
Jerusalem, later publishing an account of his pilgrimage. He
was a prior at León from 1523 until his death. The first half dozen of Encina’s églogas
are little more than dialogues in a humorously
colloquial peasant speech between mock-realistic
shepherds more interested in recreation than work.
His later églogas introduce other
types of characters and, although still rudimentary in plot,
are more complex, refined, and sententious. These later
plays, a notable example of which is Égloga de Plácida y
Vitoriano, show the influence of the égloga’s Italian
antecedents in their celebration of pagan love and their
incorporation of themes from classical mythology.
Encina was also a poet and composer of wide range; he
wrote both popular ballads and villancicos (rustic songs) as
well as skillfully phrased and polished courtly poems.
Indeed, he is now considered one of the most important
songwriters in Spain in his time. His songs were based upon
folklike tunes and rhythms, and some of the most appealing
of them have an earthy or ribald quality, while others
achieve a rare intensity of expression.
del Encina - Cucu, cucu - The Stairwell Carollers, Ottawa.
sings Juan del Enzina - Una sanosa porfía
Juan del Encina - Mas Vale
Juan del Encina "Vuestros
amores e señora"
Juan del Enzina (1468 - 1529),
Hoy comamos y bevamos. Savall