• A procession imploring for rain in seventeenth century Évora

    Processions imploring for rain (ad petendam pluviam) are a constant occurrence in the Early Modern World. During the extended periods of extreme drought Man turned to the divine forces to ensure his subsistence directly related to the cultivation of the fields and harvesting of cereals to make bread as well as other foods.

  • Organ activity in the Church of Santo Antão, Évora, in the 1570s

    The Church of Santo Antão (dedicated to St Anthony, Abbot) was one of the main construction projects of the Cardinal D. Henrique during his government as Archbishop of Évora. During Medieval times it is referenced as the Church of Santo Antoninho in the city’s main square, annexed to the hospital and lodging facilities in charge […]

  • A visit to the Convent of Calvário in Évora by King Philip III

    The entries and visits of kings to the cities were always moments of grandeur, consisting in the perfect moments for the commission of artworks as well as social gatherings and much activity among the ruling classes of the cities and villages visited. To write about this would be too extensive for this kind of text […]

  • Francisco Velez, a musician in sixteenth century Évora

    To write about musicians, composers, or even chapel masters in Évora during the sixteenth century frequently represents a challenge, to say the least, due to the scarcity of sources and accounts regarding their professional careers or their own biographies. The case of the singer, composer, and master Francisco Velez is no exception being part of […]

  • Two mid-16th-century Cecilian parody masses

    When speaking of Cecilian music, one generally has the idea of the nineteenth-century movement, mostly centred in Germany, that pushed a reformation of Catholic church music, aiming to restore a more traditional religious feeling and the authority of the church in regard to the sacred music repertoire. This movement of the 1800s was in great […]

  • The motet Ad te levavi animam meam by Palestrina

    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina died on 2 February 1594. Several months earlier, a collection of 68 motets was published. Although it appeared at the end of 1593 it is generally thought that these motets were composed over a period of years. Many have interpreted this publication as a summation of Palestrina’s life’s work. It was […]

  • A biographical note on the composer António de Oliveira

    Not much is known about the Portuguese composer António de Oliveira, besides that he was active in the last decades of the sixteenth century. Much of what is known about him comes from the short entry of Diogo Barbosa Machado’s Bibliotheca Lusitana and must be interpreted as accurate as the period in which the author […]

  • The Medieval Soundscape of Évora from a 17th-Century Perspective

    Most of the published studies about the history of music in the Portuguese city of Évora have begin chronologically in the first decades of the sixteenth century onwards. This period corresponded to the activity of the Spanish chapel master Mateus d’Aranda at Évora Cathedral. The successors of Aranda both as chapel masters, singers, and instrumentalists, […]

  • Pueri Hebraeorum vestimenta by Simão dos Anjos

    The city of Évora, Alentejo, Portugal, is known for its musical history regarding the great Portuguese masters of polyphony of the first half of the seventeenth century. Names like Fr. Manuel Cardoso, Duarte Lobo, Filipe de Magalhães are known throughout the world as leading figures with biographical and professional relations with Évora Cathedral.

  • The Magnificat Quarti Toni by Duarte Lobo

    In 1626 the Portuguese theorist Antonio Fernandes dedicated his Arte de Musica to his former master Duarte Lobo praising him as one of the most illustrious Portuguese masters. Duarte Lobo is included in the trio of Portuguese composers (the other two being Fr. Manuel Cardoso and Filipe de Magalhães) with an impressive body of music […]

  • The motet Ave gratia plena by Cornelis Verdonck

    Flemish composer and singer Cornelis Verdonck was born in Turnhout sometime during the year 1563 and died in Antwerp on 5 July 1625. He was a choirboy at Antwerp Cathedral and in 1572 was enrolled as a singer at the court of Felipe II of Spain being colleague to other singers of Flemish origin such […]

  • The villancico “Quem vio hum menino” by António Marques Lésbio

    Most of the posts on the Cantum Mensurable blog have focused on sacred music, in particular Latin polyphony. The corpus of Portuguese music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is rich in para-liturgical and religious thematic music being the villancico in the centre of this interesting repertory. In the case of the villancicos, most authors […]

  • The motet O magnum mysterium by Cristóbal de Morales

    Many sixteenth and seventeenth-century composers have set the text O Magnum mysterium with wonderful polyphonic results, such as Willaert, Gabrieli, Palestrina, Victoria, and, Morales only to name a few. In Portugal during this period we find at least three settings of this text – all as responsories – by Pedro de Cristo, Duarte Lobo and […]

  • Two Magnificat Settings by Francesco Soriano

    Francesco Soriano is one of the cases where composers of the same generation become lesser known than the popular composers of the time, and the last decades of the sixteenth century were a great time to be forgotten from the mainstream Music History books. It was the case in Italy during Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’s […]

  • Alma Redemptoris Mater by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

    Palestrina is most certainly the sixteenth-century composer who printed almost all of his music production. The fact that his career developed in Rome, centre of the Catholic world and of important figures of the Church, contributed considerable for the numerous books of masses, motets, hymns, lamentations among many other works that make the volume of […]

  • In manus tuas attributed to Tomás Luis de Victoria

    I have always been a fan of small-scale polyphonic works. In the case of Portuguese sixteenth and seventeenth-century polyphony, I have always included brief works, mostly the Jesu Redemptor settings, in concert programmes and recordings. These works are often forgotten from concert programmes due to their small scale length. One of these cases is Tomás Luis de […]