Manuel Cardoso

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Manuel Cardoso


Born: 1566 (baptized 11 December), Fronteira (Portugal)

Died: 24 November 1650, Lisbon


Manuel Cardoso was born in Fronteira (near Portalegre), 1566 and died in Lisbon 24 November 1650. He studied grammar and music at Évora Cathedral from 1574 (or 1575), being probably a pupil of Manuel Mendes.

On 1 July 1588 he enters to the Carmelite order, at the Convento do Carmo, Lisbon and professed on 5 July 1589. There he became mestre de capela and sub-prior becoming famous for his musical gifts and religious virtue.

In 1605 he publishes his first book of masses, dedicating it to the Duque de Barcelos, future D. João IV (who kept a portrait of the composer in his music library). The second book of masses and the Livro de Varios motets are also dedicated to the Portuguese king. Cardoso also secured the patronage of Philip IV of Spain, dedicating to him his third book of masses which ends with a Missa Philippina, a composition that had been proposed to Cardoso by the mestre of the Royal Chapel, Mateo Romero. Cardoso travelled to Madrid in 1631 and was generously rewarded by the king.

Cardoso’s music comes in the good continuity of traditional contrapuntal techniques, as we may seen in his first book of masses (where the five masses are a parody of motets by Palestrina), with virtuosic canons. His seven masses on the theme “Ab initio” shows another type of virtuosic skill. He also uses chromatic inflexions and diminished and augmented vertical intervals that cause a high coloured and expressive language. His rhythmic technique remains in the style of the stile antico although he sometimes introduces passages of declamation using crotchets and quavers. This is most clearly seen in the Lamentations settings and in the lessons from the Office of the Dead.

View the Wikipedia article on Manuel Cardoso.

List of choral works

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  • Cantica BMV 4/5vv (Lisbon: Craesbeck, 1613)
  • Missae, 4–6vv, lib.1 (Lisbon: Craesbeck, 1625)
  • Missae, 4–6vv, lib.2 (Lisbon: Craesbeck, 1636)
  • Missae de BVM, 4–6vv, lib.3 (Lisbon: Craesbeck, 1636)
  • Livro de varios motetes, officio da semana santa e outras cousas, 4–6vv (Lisbon: Craesbeck, 1648)

External links