sábado, 16 de marzo de 2013

The Choir Project al día [16-III-2013]

[Music for Holy Week].
Diogo Dias Melgaz [1638-1700]: Lamentaçao de Quinta Feira Santa a 8.
The Sixteen - Harry Christophers.
The unique and archaic Portuguese style.

   Robert Stevenson wrotes in then "New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians" about Melgaz:
"Potuguese composer and teacher. On 10 May 1647 he was admitted as a choirboy at Évora Cayhedral, where his teacher was Bento Nunes PEgado. He was elected master of the boys on 14 March 1662, 'mestre da crasta' in 1663 and 'mestre de capela' in about 1678. In 1697 his formar pupil Pedro Vaz Rêgo began to substitute for him bacause he had become blind. However, the cathedral chapter continued to pay his three stipends until July 1699, indicating the esteern in which he was held.

   Melgaz's extant compositions in cathedral archives at Évora and Liboa, some of them duplicates, are all Latin liturgical works. Of the four incomplete vilhancicos in Évora Public Library, two have Spanish texts, one a Galician text and one a Portuguese text. Melgaz also edited a plainchant hymnal containing 152 melodies, all barred in either binary or ternary metre. He was the first Évora composer to use bar-lines in his polyphonic works, to write funcional harmony and provide independent instrumental parts for harp, organ and unfigured bass (Évora Cathedral employed a harpist as early as 1643). Usually sober in his motets, he expands into elaborate 'fioriture' in his double-choir accompanied Pentecost sequence."

   For Ivan Moody the music by Melgaz:
"in many ways typifies the relationship of Portuguese music in the later 17th century to that of other European countries. In Portugal there was no sudden explosion of Monteverdian ‘secunda prattica’; on the contrary, the ideals of Palestrinian polyphony remained of the highest importanceto Portuguese composers for a variety of reasons. One of these wasthe subjection of Portugal to Spanish rule from 1581 to 1640, which meant that thecultivation of liturgical polyphony wasone of the clearest ways of keeping alive the country’s cultural identity. It should not be thought, however, that Portugal was completely isolated from artistic currents from elsewhere in Europe: a glance at the catalogue of the library of King John IV, whose contents were lost in the earthquake of 1755, reveals the presence of printed works by Monteverdi, the Gabrielis, Grandi andUgolini. Rebelo and Melgás Polychoral techniques were known toas great a master of traditional contrapuntal style as Duarte Lobo (his 'Opuscula' of 1602 contain works for as many as eleven voices, though a modern edition has yet to appear) [...].

   Melgás, though even more eccentric (in the true sense of the word, working ashe did in provincial Evora) also fits into the Portuguese tradition of contrapuntal working, even when his music is at its most ‘vertical’. Melgás must have received his musical education at the cathedral school in Evora, and he himself taught there until three years before his death. It is not entirely clear what his immediate musical influences were, but his own voice is quite distinctive, joining in his motets a simple transparency and brevity of utterance to an expressively ‘baroque’ treatment of the text. 'Popule meus', though it employs two choruses,is a good example, and it is something that may be found in earlier Portuguese music for Holy Week such as the Responsories by Cardoso and Martins.The text comes from the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday, and remains one of the few texts in the western rite to retain words in Greek (the ancient Trisagion‘ Holy God, Holy Mighty, HolyImmortal, have mercy upon us’). [...] The Lamentations (for Holy Thursday) are for eight voices, and it is fascinating to compare them not only with Rebelo’s works but also with the fine polychoral works of Spaniards active atthis time, such as Mateo Romero (‘El Capitán’) or Carlos Patino. Melgás retains a fondness for clear textures whichis distinctively Portuguese, and their impact is the stronger for that."

   An incredible piece, mixed Renaissance and Baroque style, very late for Renaissance style. This is the particular musical characteristic for this Portuguese composers. The lines, melodies, "tactvs"... are Renaissance, but the line for independent instruments, the traitment of two choirs, the harmonic advances, soloists... are Baroque -but it's more than 1670-.

   I'm very interseting in the the polyphony composer Portuguese school in 16th and 17th centuries. For me, this is a unique school in Europe in a different musical style in this period.
The list of composers is really incredible, for their quality, but most of them are now almost unknown, unfortunely.
I am researching this school lately and I'm sure that this is the authentic "Idade d'ouro" of Portuguese music.

1 comentario:

Luís Henriques dijo...

What strikes me most in these composers is the fact that, although they studied at Évora Cathedral (the music that I research) the works of Cardoso, Magalhães, Lobo, Rebelo (Manuel), Martins, and Melgaz and Rego can be so different from each other. Together they form a block of quite interesting features differentiating them from the rest of Europe, but also inside that block, with each composer finding some very personal characteristics, style.
Best wishes