Azpilcueta, Martín de [Navarrus, Martinus]
- Almonte Howell
(b Barasoain, c1491; d Rome, 1586). Spanish churchman and jurisconsult. He taught in Salamanca and Coimbra and spent his last 19 years in Rome, revered for his learning and piety. His numerous Latin writings were published throughout Europe in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Forkel, Fétis and others credited him with a musical treatise, De musica et cantu figurato, but no such work apparently exists; reports of it may stem from a misunderstanding of Walther's Musicalisches Lexicon. Azpilcueta's known writings on church music occur in Commentarius de oratione horis canonicis atque aliis divinit officiis (Coimbra, 1561) and the brief Commentarius de silentio in divinis officiis (Rome, 1580; Spanish and Italian translations soon afterwards). He justified music not for God's benefit but man's, as it contributed to man's ability to worship; all excesses and abuses worked against this end. Well-executed plainchant was much to be preferred, but neither polyphonic music nor instruments were inherently improper if they enhanced the attitude of reverence and did not obscure the text. His discussion of specific abuses in the liturgy of his time is of particular interest....