João Lourenço Rebelo (1610-1665)
The first half of the 17th century is often seen as a Golden Age of Portuguese music and João Lourenço Rebelo was one of its leading composers, alongside the likes of Duarte Lobo and Manuel Cardoso. Rebelo moved in courtly circles for much of his life and there is evidence that, despite never holding an official office within the Portuguese Royal household, he was a close personal friend of King João IV (who restored the independent monarchy of Portugal in 1640): The King financed the publication of his Vespers in 1657 and also dedicated his treatise Defensa de la musica moderna (In Defense of modern music) to the composer. Like so many Iberian composers of the age, a significant proportion of his music seems to have been lost in the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. However, from his surviving compositions, we can see that Rebelo’s music is emblematic of his age, grounded in the Renaissance polyphonic tradition but also adopting forward-looking practices of the early Baroque, such as obbligato instrumental parts and the harmonic sonorities of Monteverdi.