Filipe de Magalhães’s Missa “O Soberana Luz”

Filipe de Magalhães (c.15 -1652) is among the finest Portuguese composers of the first half of the 17th century. He studied at Évora Cathedral with Manuel Mendes (c.1547-1605), succeeding him in the post of mestre da claustra at Évora Cathedral. He then moved to Lisbon, where he became choirmaster at the Misericórdia and mestre de música in the Royal Chapel. (mais…)

Anonymous’s “Sã qui Turo Zente Pleta”

Sã qui Turo Zente Pleta is a negrillo or guineo (also called villancicos de negros), a sort of villancico which were intended to portrait African slaves taken to the New World, imitating their music as also as their way of speaking.

The monastery of Santa Cruz in Coimbra was one of the most active music centres in Portugal during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was a community in which the monks themselves were singers, instrumentalists, maestros de musica, composers and instrument builders. During the five years of the noviciado, each monk studied music and organ, although all of them played other instruments used in the religious services. (mais…)

Giovanni P. da Palestrina’s Missa “Assumpta Est Maria”

After writing about Palestrina’s motet Assumpta Est Maria, I could not pass without droping some lines on the mass based on this motet, one of Palestrina’s best known masses together with the Missa Papae Marcelli.

The Missa Assumpta Est Maria is set for six voices (SSATTB) and expresses the joy and vitaly of the festivity for which it is destinated (Assumption of the Virgin Mary), through exhuberant melodic lines combined with elaborate decorative elements. Palestrina combines in this work the clarity and balance of his earlier works with a clear Baroque attention towards vertical sonority. (mais…)

Giovanni P. da Palestrina’s “Assumpta Est Maria”

The legend of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina as the saviour of polyphony (and sacred music in general) is known in our days more as a Romantic fantasy – a mystification of Palestrina’s fame as a composer – than a page of Western music history. This does not take credit of the immense impact Palestrina had on the music of Catholic Church after the Council of Trent: in a space of 30 years (from the ending of the Council to Palestrina’s death) he published no fewer than 11 books of motets, four of which comprise complete liturgical collections. Apperently, these collections illustrate the music at the basilica of San Pietro in the 1570s and 1580s. (mais…)

Thomas Tallis’s “Spem in Alium”

This is probably one of the most celebrated and high-regarded work of sacred polyphony, English composer Thomas Tallis’s (c.1505-1585) motet for forty voices Spem in Alium. The motet is set for eight choirs of five voices each (SATBarB) and was probably composed around 1570, some say, commissioned to rival Alessandro Striggio’s (c.1536/37-1592) motet, also for forty voices, Ecce Beatam Lucem. Striggio is known to have visited London in June 1567 after a musical journey through Europe. (mais…)

Duarte Lobo’s “Audivi vocem de caelo”

Audivi vocem de caelo is probably the most celebrated work by Portuguese composer Duarte Lobo (c.1567-1646). It was widely known in Europe during his time and later, still being performed by the “ancient music” english choral societies in early nineteenth century. The work is scored for six voices (SSAATB) and it comes from the 1621 Liber [primus] Missarum printed by Balthazar Moreto at the Officina Plantiniana in Antwerp. (mais…)