Fernando de las Infantas  
Fernando de las Infantas
Fernando de las Infantas (1534–ca. 1610) was a Spanish nobleman, composer and theologian.
Infantas was born in Córdoba in 1534, a descendant of Juan Fernández de Córdoba who had conveyed the two daughters, infantas (hence the surname), of Pedro I of Castile to safety after the Battle of Montiel in 1369. The family was still notable in Córdoba at the time of Fernando's birth and he enjoyed a privileged education, and later a patrimonio, or stipend, remitted to him in Rome from his family in Spain.

From 1572–1597 Infantas resided in Rome, voluntarily giving his services to a hospital for the poor. In 1577 Infantas came into conflict with Pope Gregory XIII and the composers Palestrina and Annibale Zoilo over the reversal of reforms in Gregorian chant, at one point causing his sponsor Philip II of Spain to instruct the Spanish ambassador in Spain to intercede with the Pope.

In 1584 Infantas took holy orders and served a small church on Rome's outskirts. He had returned to Spain by 1608 and presumably died around 1610.
  Theological controversies
From 1584 until his death, Infantas was constantly involved in theological debate. In later life he was embroiled in the regalist and Molinist controversies. His Treaty on Predestination (Paris, 1601), brought the charge of being an illuminist, if not a quietist, and the attention of the Spanish Inquisition. At the end of his life, overwhelmed by his theological enemies he was reduced to beggary and died in poverty.
Infantas' theological views may have influenced his preference, aside from the then standard Marian motets, for predominantly Biblical text settings in his publications. This is most notable in two almost unique settings of the Symbolum Apostolorum, a Credo according to the Apostles' Creed, not according to the ordinary of the mass. Infantas left no conventional mass setting. Michael Noone suggests that, although it is possible that Infantas may have been aware of a setting by the French composer Jean Le Brung printed in 1540, it is equally likely that Infantas believed his settings to be unique. A third setting was visibly absent from the Pater Noster sequence in Book III, possibly as a result of criticism.
Fernando de las Infantas - Ave Maria
Fernando de las Infantas - Parce mihi Domine

Parce mihi, Domine:
nihil enim sunt dies mei.
Quid est homo, quia magnificas eum
aut quid apponis erga eum cor tuum?
Visitas eum di luculo et subito probas illum.
Usque quo non parcis mihi, nec dimittis me,
ut glutiam salivam meam?
Quid faciem tibi, o custos hominum?
Quare posuisti me contrarium tibi,
et factus sum mihi metipsi gravis?
Cur non tollis peccatum meum,
et quare non aufers iniquitatem meam?
Ecce nunc in pulvere dormiam:
et si mane me quaesieris, non subsistam.


Perdóname Señor, porque mi vida no tiene valor alguno.
¿Qué cosa es el hombre para que le engrandezcas
y confíes a él tu corazón?
Le visitas cada mañana y le examinas a cada instante.
¿Cuándo dejarás de mirarme y me permitirás que me vaya?
¿No me darás tregua ni para tragar saliva?
¡He pecado!
¿Qué daño te hice, O guardián de los hombres?
¿Por qué me has tomado por enemigo hasta convertirme
en una carga para mí mismo?
¿Por qué no perdonas mis ofensas y olvidas mis culpas?
¡Muy pronto me acostaré en el polvo,
y si vas a buscarme, ya no existiré!


Spare me, O Lord, for my days are as a breath.
What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him?
and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?
And that thou shouldest visit him every morning,
and try him every moment?
How long wilt thou refuse me respite from thy visitation,
and suffer me not even to swallow down my spittle?
If I have sinned, what can I do unto thee, O thou Watcher of men?
Why hast thou set me over against thee as a mark for thy buffetings,
so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost thou not pardon my transgression,
and take away mine iniquity? for soon shall I sleep in the dust;
and if then thou dost seek for me, I shall not be.

Fernando de las Infantas - Dum praelaretur
Intérpretes: Ensemble Plus Ultra (Michael Noone)


In festo Sancti Michaelis
Super Excelso Gregoriano Cantu.

Dum praeliaretur Michael archangelus
cum drachone
audita est vox dicentium:
Salus Deo nostro.


En la Fiesta de San Miguel
Sobre el Excelso Canto Gregoriano.

Mientras el arcángel Miguel combatía
contra el dragón
se oyó una voz que decía:
Salvación para nuestro Dios.


On the feast of Saint Michael
Upon the Esteemed Gregorian Chant.

While Michael the archangel was contending
with the dragon
a voice was heard saying:
Salvation from our God.

Fernando de las Infantas - Ecce quam bonum
Intérpretes: Ensemble Plus Ultra (Michael Noone)

Psalmus CXXXII
Tempus sacri faederis, 1570

Ecce quam bonum et quam iucundum,
habitare fratres in unum.
Sicut unquentum in capite,
quod descendit in barbam,
barbam Aaron.
Quod descendit in oram vestimenti eius,
sicut ros Hermon, qui descendit in monte Sion.
Quoniam illic mandavit Dominus benedictionem, et vitam usque in saeculum.


Salmo 132 (133)
Con motivo del Sagrado Convenio, 1570

¡He Aquí, cuán bueno y cuán agradable es
que los hermanos habiten juntos en Armonía!
Es como el buen aceite sobre la cabeza,
el cual desciende sobre la barba, la barba de Aarón,
y baja hasta el borde de sus vestiduras.
Es como el rocío del Hermón
que desciende sobre los montes de Sion;
porque allá enviará Jehová bendición y vida eterna.

*.- Ecce quam bonum lleva la inscripción "Tempore sacri foederis, 1570" (Con motivo del Sagrado Convenio), en referencia a la formación de la Santa Liga entre Venecia, España, Malta y los Estados Pontificios, a finales de 1570.
La elección del Salmo 132 por Infantas, no tiene relación con la liturgia, sino con la ocasión: su intención de celebrar la unidad del catolicismo para hacer frente a la expansión del poder otomano en el Meditérraneo.

Psalm 132 (133)
As the time of the sacred pact, 1570

Behold, how good and joyful a thing it is,
brethren, to dwell together in unity.
It is like the precious ointment upon the head,
that ran down unto to the beard,
even unto Aaron's beard.
And went down to the skirts of his clothing,
like as the dew of Hermon,
which fell upon the hill of Sion.
For there the Lord promised his blessing
and life for evermore.

*- Ecce quam bonum, bears the caption "Tempore sacri foederis, 1570" (At the time of the Sacred Covenant, 1570), a reference to the pact for the formation of a Holy League, negotiated between Venice, Spain, Malta and the Papal States late in 1570, that ensured Catholic unity in the defence of the Western Mediterranean against Ottoman forces.
Infantas's choice of Psalm 132 as text is clearly not governed by liturgical consideration (the psalm, for instance, was only rarely sung among the Vespers psalms), but by its suitability to the intended occasion. Infantas's obvious intent is to celebrate Catholic unity in his choice of text: "Ecce quam bonum... habitare fratres in unum" (Behold, how good it is... for brethren to dwell in unity).

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