António Marques Lésbio
Died: 11 December 1709
António Marques Lésbio was born in Lisbon in 1639 and died in the same city on 21 November 1709. He added “Lésbio” (after the island of Lesbos) to his family name probably because of his literary activity, most notably at the Academia dos Singulares, to which he presided in 1663 and 1665, and published poems in 1665 and 1668. Diogo Barbosa Machado, a bibliographer from the first half of the eighteenth century, tells that in 1653, after seeing one of Lésbio’s compositions (he was fourteen at the time), the composer João Lourenço Rebelo stated that he would become one of the most celebrated contrapuntists produced in Portugal.
In 1668, following the move of Fr. Filipe da Madre de Deus to Seville, Lésbio succeeded him as master of the royal chamber music with an annually salary of 45.000 réis. In 1679 he was appointed master of the choir school attached to the Royal Chapel.
His surviving compositions include an 8-part Victimae Paschali laudes and sixteen villancicos in Portuguese and Castillian that range from delightful to imposing works showing that he was a skilful composer of much grace and polish. Barbosa Machado praised Lésbio’s wealth of ideas, his originality, and the beautiful sounds of his music as “never grating or harsh to the ear but always full-bodied and attractive”.
List of choral works
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