Others who lived in Seville are considered to be potential relatives of Morales. There is little information of the whereabouts of Morales from January to May By he had moved to Rome, where he was a singer in the papal choir, evidently due to the interest of Pope Paul III who was partial to Spanish singers. He remained in Rome until , in the employ of the Vatican ; then, after a period of unsuccessfully seeking other employment in Italy with the emperor, as well as with Cosimo I de Medici he returned to Spain, where he held a succession of posts, many of which were marred by financial or political difficulties.
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Their first collaboration, in , was on a CD called Officium. They thought it might sell a few hundred copies, s,o, when it did a million and a half the air was filled with the sound of jaws hitting the floor. The Hilliards brought a batch of music, they chose one and started to sing, and I listened for a minute and then played along with them.
It was very quick and spontaneous, which to me meant that it was the right thing to do. Wisely, they have allowed the collaboration to develop in its own time. A second collection, the two-disc Mnemosyne, followed in , on which the musicians stretched themselves across several more centuries and folk music from different continents.
Then more than a decade elapsed before Officium Novum eventually emerged, though the partnership had been expanding and deepening in the interim over the course of myriad live performances. In a history going back more than 35 years, the Hilliards have had only five personnel changes, though countertenor David James is the sole survivor from the first line-up.
There had to be some damn good reason. One thing he loves about this project is that he gets to play in places he never otherwise sees, such as big churches and cathedrals. I had to find my musical voice in the way that Coltrane found his, and the way he developed his spirituality through his music is very interesting to me.
The group was named after the Elizabethan miniaturist painter Nicholas Hilliard. Founded in ,  the group disbanded in
The Hilliard Ensemble: Sax in the Middle Ages
Parce mihi, Domine (Cristóbal de Morales)
Parce mihi, Domine