- Almonte Howell
(b Algemesí, province of Valencia; fl 1775–87). Spanish composer and teacher. According to early biographers, he was organist at the Madrid royal chapel and the Convento de los Desamparados. He is best known for a small treatise, Documentos para instrucción de músicos y aficionados que intentan saber el arte de la composición (Madrid, 1786), whose stated purpose was to compensate for the lack of teaching materials on secular music in Spain. Quite elementary, it consists mostly of examples of counterpoint and free composition, and also gives the instrumental ranges. It was attacked in a satirical Carta laudatoria a don Vicente Adán (Madrid, 1786), to which Adán replied in Respuesta gratulatoria de la carta laudatoria (Madrid, 1787). Various 18th-century publishers’ lists and bibliographies indicate that many volumes of his compositions were printed in Madrid in the 1780s. Most of these were for the psaltery, which experienced a strong revival in the 18th century, although it had been known in Spain since the Moorish occupation. Adán’s compositions for this instrument include preludes, sonatas, divertimentos and fandangos as well as an instruction book; there is also evidence that he published organ works and vocal music, both sacred and secular. None of these other publications are extant, although one untitled piece of his for psaltery survives (in ...