Flecha, the musician

flecha sostre palau

In the ceiling of the Palau de la Música Catalana there is an image of Mateo Flecha “the elder”, together with other musicians. His Christmas carols and especially his salads are highly appreciated and increasingly valued in the music world internationally (http://www.palaumusica.cat/tresorsbiblioteca/cat/index.html).

His salads were compiled by his nephew, also musician, Mateo Flecha “the younger”. He did this compilation in Prague while he was in service as chaplain of Mary of Hungary and he took the liberty of changing some of them. For instance, he eliminated some of their five voices. The salads were a genre that combined different cites with music and lyrics, mainly about Christmas, that the listeners from that time could identify. He probably wrote them in the beautiful castle of Prague, the biggest medieval castle in the world.


The surname Flecha

Although its origins were claimed from many places, data known to this day are clear: the first time that the surname Flecha appears is in Prades. The other prior hypotheses were based on one of these two errors: to place its origins in a date that is after the life of Mateo Flecha (not knowing his existence); or placing the origins of the Flecha surname in other surnames that could be similar, without any evidence of their relation (such as the English Fletcher). For instance, the hypothesis that the surname appeared in Puerto Rico as the evolution of that of a Spanish or Portuguese conqueror was refuted as there was none there before the birth of Flecha (1481). Another example, the hypothesis of Leon, is based on a knight named Frechilla and the supposition (without any evidence) that this surname evolved to Flecha; moreover, it seems that this knight established himself in a village in Palencia which is still called Frechilla.

The only original model printed of the Salads

Only one model of the original printed in Prague in 1581 by Mateo Flecha “the younger” – who collected the selection of his uncle’s salads together with those of other authors such as Chacón or Cárceres. The shield that is found in this edition belongs to Juan de Borja y Castro, Spanish ambassador before the Austrian court. This model can be found in the Palau de la Música’s collection Treasures of the Library of the Orféo Català.

Aim of this wordpress

The only goal is to promote the knowledge of the person, the work and the context of Mateo Flecha. His work is highly recognised in the international musical spheres. However, little is known from his life and his trajectory in his context. The same information –which is very little- is found everywhere. Still, what finally lead me to initiate this were the words of a very kind person in Prades in charge of giving me information about the village:

“You are the first person of many who come here that has asked me about Mateo Flecha, from whom I have sung salads at my choir, nobody did it before”.

Although I am myself a researcher, I am not specialised in this domain; I believe that there are people who can do it and who will do it much better than me. Therefore, I do not aim anything but to start this promotion which I will stop doing whenever other people and institutions continue with it,