LOBO, D. / CARDOSO: Portuguese Requiem Masses (Jeremy Summerly/ Judy Lieber/ Oxford Schola Cantorum) (Naxos: 8.550682)
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Duarte Lobo (c.1565 - 1646) - Missa pro defunctis (1621)
Manuel Cardoso (c.1566 - 1650) - Missa pro defunctis (1625)
The flowering of Portuguese polyphony came in the first half ofthe seventeenth century with composers such as Est?¬v?úo de Brito, Filipe de Magalh?úes,Duarte L??bo, and Manuel Cardoso. The early years of the century had witnessed manymusical innovations (for example the Baroque genre of opera and the experiments ofMonteverdi) and the Portuguese composers worked these developments into the polyphonictraditions of the so-called stile antico ta produce particularly expressiveinterpretations of the texts through freer use of dissonance.
Duarte L??bo began studying music at ?ëvora with Manuel Mendes.
He was appointed mestre da capela at Lisbon Cathedral in 1594 and remained there until hisdeath in 1646. His six volumes of liturgical music prove him to be one of the leadingPortuguese exponents of the polyphonic style. The Missapro defunctis of 1621 skilfully retains the polyphonic style of Palestrinaalongside the more modern dissonances, setting the sombre text almost in the style of hisSpanish counterpart Victoria. Seven voices weave a contrapuntal web around the plainchant-- itself often a paraphrase of the original chant -- and the resulting eight parts singvariously all together, as two choirs, and in reduced combinations, thereby creating aunique style out of seemingly anachronistic components.
Manuel Cardoso was trained as a chair boy, also in ?ëvora.
After taking his vows in 1589 he became a member of a Carmelite order in Lisbon and wasemployed by the future King John IV, the Duke of Barcelos, from 1618 until 1625. His Missa pro defunctis was written in the last year ofthis period and is perhaps even more explicit in its evocation of Victoria's own six-partsetting of the same text. The chant in both is placed in one of the soprano parts ratherthan the more usual tenor, and a slow harmonic pace is created by using the chant insemibreves and the counterpoint in minims. Only occasionally are these note lengths halved-- as at the words Libera eas de are leonis ('Release them from the lion's mouth') in the Offertorium -- to bring an increase of momentum.
Jeremy Summerly was a choral scholar at New College, Oxfordfrom where he graduated in 1982. For the next seven years he worked as a Studio Managerwith BBC Radio. It was during this time that he became Director of the Edington FestivalConsort and founded the Oxford Camerata. In 1989 he left the BBC in order to join theRoyal Academy of Music as a lecturer in the department of Academic Studies and in 1990 hewas appointed conductor of Schola Cantorum of Oxford. He is now in considerable demand asa conductor and recently signed a long-term contract with Naxos to record 16th- and17th-century music with the Oxford Camerata and Schola Cantorum of Oxford.
Schola Cantorum of Oxford
Schola Cantorum of Oxford is Oxford University'slongest-running and most celebrated chamber choir. Much in demand for appearances at majormusic festivals in Britain and abroad Schola Cantorum has been conducted by LeonardBernstein, Gustav Leonhardt, Sir Colin Davis, and Sir Neville Marriner as well as byBritten, Tippett, and Stravinsky in performances of their own music.