Mateo Flecha

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Mateo Flecha (Catalan: Mateu Fletxa) (1481–1553) was a Catalan composer born in Kingdom of Aragon, in the region of Prades. He is sometimes known as "El Viejo" (the elder) to distinguish him from his nephew, Mateo Flecha "El Joven" (the younger), also a composer of madrigals. "El Viejo" is best known for his ensaladas, published in Prague in 1581 by the same nephew.

Mateo Flecha directed the music at the cathedral of Lleida (September 1523 – October 1525).[1] From there he moved to Guadalajara, in the service for six years of the Duke, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza. From there he went to Valencia where he assumed direction of the chapel choir of the Duke of Calabria. While thus employed, three of his works were included in songbooks associated with that chapel, including the Cancionero de Uppsala. In 1537 Flecha moved to Sigüenza where he served as maestro di cappella for two years. From 1544 to 1548 he lived in the castle at Arévalo as teacher of the Infantas Maria and Joanna, daughters of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (1500-1558). Toward the end of his life Mateo Flecha became a monk of the Cistercian Order, living in the Monastery at Poblet, where he died in 1553.[2][3][4]

Flecha's ensaladas influenced the madrigals of Joan Brudieu.[5]


Mateo Flecha's music was published in part by Fuenllana in his Orphenica Lira. The majority of his works can be found in the Cancionero of the Duke of Calabria (Venice, 1556), also known as the “Cancionero de Uppsala.” Flecha is best known as composer of the "ensalada" (literally "salad"), a work for four or five voices written for the diversion of courtiers in the palace. The ensalada frequently mixed languages: Spanish, Catalan, Italian, French, and Latin. In addition to the ensalada, Flecha is known for his villancicos.

In 1581 Flecha's ensaladas were published by his nephew, Mateo Flecha "El Joven" (the younger), in Prague. Of the eleven ensaladas, complete versions remain of only six, El jubilate, La bomba, La negrina, La guerra, El fuego, and La justa. Four of the others are missing a voice. El cantate is lost because Flecha's nephew did not publish it, considering it to be too long.

Various Spanish vihuelists, like Enríquez de Valderrábano, Diego Pisador, and Miguel de Fuenllana, adapted Flecha's works for the vihuela.

List of works[edit]

Although he surely wrote more than the following, the following compositions are known to be the work of Mateo Flecha El Viejo:[6]

Ensaladas for 4 voices:[7]

Ensaladas for 5 voices:

  • Las cañas
  • Los chistes
  • El cantate o dança despadas (lost)

Villancicos for 3 voices:

Teresica hermana by Collegium Vocale Bydgoszcz

Villancicos for 4 voices:

Villancicos for 5 voices:

  • Si amores me han de matar

Sacred works in Latin:

  • Miserere (4 voices)
  • Doleo super te (lost)


  1. ^ J. Lérida. Historia de la música. Lleida, 197
  2. ^ Article Flecha, Matheo (i) by Mari Carmen Gómez in: Grove Music Online. (requires subscription)
  3. ^ Article in the magazine Goldberg Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine link dead April 2010
  4. ^ Article in Archived 2006-10-09 at the Wayback Machine link dead April 2010
  5. ^ John William Woldt Spanish madrigals: a study of the madrigals of Morales, Flecha, Valenzola 1950
  6. ^ Stanley Sadie, John Tyrrell The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians, Volume 1 2001 Page 930
  7. ^ Anglés, H. Mateo Flecha. Las ensaladas. Barcelona, 1954
  8. ^ Edition with Catalan introduction: Matheo Flecha La viuda: ensalada, Issue 7 - Page xxviii Catalunya 1992 36 pages
  9. ^ Ferran Muñoz Mencía de Mendoza y La viuda de Mateo Flecha: las ensaladas de Flecha. 2001
  10. ^ Emilio Ros-Fábregas The manuscript Barcelona, Biblioteca de Catalunya, M.454: study and edition. 1992 966 pages
  • Las Ensaladas (Praga, 1581), con un suplemento de obras del género. Maricarmen Gómez. Institut Valencià de la Música, Valencia. 2008 (ISBN 978-84-482-4890-1)
  • Mateo Flecha (c. 1481-1553?). Los villancicos. Maricarmen Gómez & John Griffiths. CulturArts-Música. Valencia. 2013 (ISBN 979-0-69200-929-0)

External links[edit]