Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650)
Cardoso’s long life and career spanned an extraordinary period of musical change, as the Renaissance era transitioned towards the Baroque. As with many Iberian peninsula composers of his era, he remained more conservative in his cultivation of high Renaissance polyphony (Palestrina was clearly a major influence on his style with Cardoso composing several parody Masses based on his motets), though the influence of more modern “Baroque” techniques can be seen in his use of chromaticism and text declamation. Like Duarte Lobo, he studied at Évora cathedral with Manuel Mendes before going on to take Holy Orders as a Carmelite, eventually rising to the post of resident composer and organist at Lisbon’s Carmelite Convento do Carmo. This church was destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 along with the music library of King John IV and so we have lost dozens of his works (perhaps more). However, fortunately Cardoso published several Books of his music during his lifetime (many were financed by King John IV himself) and so a great wealth of repertoire has come down to us. From these surviving pieces, we can see a composer steeped in the history of Iberian polyphonic tradition, keen to advance Counter-Reformation ideals alongside glimpses of Baroque “tonal” and “chromatic” harmonies.
I am delighted to have available below the complete works of Cardoso’s first book of Masses, first published in Lisbon in 1625.