Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650) 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
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.
Although originally written for Chorus (SATB), I
created this arrangement for Woodwind Quintet (Flute,
Oboe, Bb Clarinet, French Horn & Bassoon).