Sebastián Raval (c. 1550 – 1604) was a Spanish composer of vocal and instrumental music. Born in Cartagena, he served as a soldier of the Army of Flanders in Flanders and Sicily. He joined the order of St. John of Jerusalem after being wounded in the siege of Maastricht.
He moved to Italy where he served as a musician in the court of Francesco Maria II della Rovere in Urbino, of the viceroy of Sicily, Bernardino de Cárdenas, and of the cardinals Peretti and Colonna in Rome.
In Rome, he declared himself the "best musician in the world", on account of which he was challenged to a musical contest first by Giovanni Maria Nanino and shortly afterwards by Francesco Soriano. Raval was defeated in both cases.
In Sicily, he again challenged a musician, Achille Falcone, to a contest; it was first decided in Falcone's favour but, after some appeals, in Raval's. After Falcone's death in 1600, Antonio Falcone, father of Achille, published all the process of this musical duel in his Relazione del successo and took Raval and Falcone's pieces (the object of this competition) to print including several canons, madrigals, motets and ricercari. This edition of both Falcone and Raval's pieces is available in a modern edition.
Sebastián Raval died in Palermo in 1604.
In 2004, the city of Cartagena, his birth city, paid homage to him, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death, with a concert conducted by the violist Pere Ros.
Raval composed religious polyphonic music, madrigals and instrumental ricercari. Raval's oeuvre has not yet studied in depth. Only a few pieces have been published in modern times; the rest await the musicological research they deserve.
- Motectorum liber primus. 5 vv (Rome 1593)
- Lamentationes Hieremiae Prophetae. 5 vv Rome 1594
- Motecta Selecta organo Accommodata. 3-8 vv. org. (Palermo 1600)
- Il Primo Libro de Madrigali. 5vv (Venice 1593)
- Il Pimo Libro di Canzonette. 4 VV (Venice 1593)
- Madrigali 3, 5, 8 vv (Rome 1595)
- Il Primo Libro di Ricercari (Palermo 1596)
- 2 Madrigals in "Infidi Lumi" (Palermo 1603) (lost)
- "Achile Falcone-Madrigali, Mottetti e Ricercari" (Includes pieces of Raval). Leo S. Olschki Editore. (Firenze, 2000)
- "Sebastián Raval. 6 Canones (IL Primo Libro di Ricercari. Palermo 1596)" Sociedad Española de Musicología, Madrid 1985.
- "Sebastián Raval. Il Primo Libro di Ricercari a Quatro Voci Cantabili, per liuti, cimbali et viole d'arco. Palermo, 1596." Edited by Andrés Cea Galán. Patrimonio Musical Español, Fundación Caja Madrid (Madrid, 2008).
- "Three ensemble ricercars in four parts from Il primo libro de canzonette, 1593" edited by Milton Swenson.Ottawa: Dovehouse Editions, 1981.
- Da Pacem Domine Motete a 8 voces en dos coros a canon. La Lyra Hispana
- Bernardino de Cárdenas y Portugal, Duke of Maqueda 1598–1601
- Andrea Cardinal Baroni Peretti Montalto (29 Nov 1572-5 Jun 1596)
- (2) Ascanio Colonna (Palestrina 27 Apr 1560 – 17 May 1608). Cardinal Ascanio Colonna, for whom he composed dodici principii di Ricercar
- Maurice Esses History and background, music and dance 1992 p21 "For example, Sebastian Raval succeeded Luis Ruiz as maestro of the royal chapel in 1595 and worked there until his death in 1604-46 Thereafter, however, Italians held the position of chapel-master at Palermo."