viernes, 19 de diciembre de 2014

The Choir Project al día | 13-XII-2014

João Lourenço Rebelo [Caminha, 1610-Quinta de Santo Amaro, nr Lisbon, 16 Nov 1661]: Lamentatio Ieremiæ Prophetæ à 8 | Psalmi tum vesperarum, tum completarum, item Magnificat, Lamentationes, et Miserere, 4-15vv [Roma, 1657].
Huelgas Ense
mble | Paul Van Nevel.
Salve Portuguese music.

     Manuel Carlos de Brito worte about Rebelo:
«In 1624 he became a boy servant in the capela of the Duke of Bragança at Vila Viçosa, where his brother Padre Marcos Soares Pereira was employed as a singer (and from 1641 as mestre de capela). Rebelo probably studied with the mestre de capela Roberto Tornar at the Colégio dos Santos Reis Magos adjoining the chapel. Tornar also taught music to the young duke and future King João IV and, despite the fact that he was six years his junior, Rebelo became a good friend of the duke and apparently helped in developing his musical inclinations. In 1640 he and his brother Marcos accompanied the new king to Lisbon. He seems to have suffered from a mental disorder for which he was treated by order of the king, and in 1646 he was made a Commander of the Order of Christ and granted several other benefits. João IV dedicated his essay Defensa de la musica moderna contra la errada opinion del obispo Cyrilo Franco (?Lisbon, ?1650) to his lifelong friend, lavishing praise on his works and confessing that he had been helped in his endeavours by Rebelo’s achievements. Two days before his death in 1656, João IV made provision in his will for a collection of Rebelo’s sacred works to be published, stating that the composer should leave a dozen copies in the Royal Library and have the rest distributed in Spain, Italy and other places. The printed edition, in 17 partbooks, was published in Rome the following year; most of the compositions bear dates between 1636 and 1653. The library of João IV, destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, contained several other vocal works by Rebelo, including 17 villancicos. In its massive polychoral effects, instrumental writing and vocal ornamentation, Rebelo’s music represents an early Baroque tradition obviously influenced by the privileged access he must have had to João IV’s rich music library and by the freedom inherent in his condition of amateur composer, in contrast to the more conservative and austere traditions dominant in Portuguese cathedral music of his time. In 1652 Rebelo married the daughter of a judge by whom he had three children. His portrait is in the ducal palace of Vila Viçosa and two lines of music identified with his initials are painted on the ceiling of one of the music rooms there.»

     Ivan Moody said:
«In Portugal there was no sudden explosion of Monteverdian secunda prattica; on the contrary, the ideals of Palestrinian polyphony remained of the highest importance to Portuguese composers for a variety of reasons. One of these was the subjection of Portugal to Spanish rule from 1581 to 1640, which meant that the cultivation of liturgical polyphony was one 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 else where 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 and Ugolini.

     Polychoral techniques were known toas great a master of traditional contrapuntal style as Duarte Lobo (his Opuscula of 1602 contain works for asmany as eleven voices, though a modernedition has yet to appear); and João Lourenço Rebelo, who worked for the Bragança family from the age of fourteen, had immediate access to the great library, which had been founded by Theodosius II and continued by his son who became King John IV with the restoration of independence. Rebelo had available to him in the Royal Chapel twenty-four excellent singers and a group of instrumentalists, including players of the organ, viols, shawms, sackbuts, trumpets, cornets and curtals. It would seem that wind instruments were of particular importance in the execution of Psalms; in Rebelo’s settings, though the instruments are not specified in detail, there are obbligato parts labeled vox instrumentalis. Rebelo is the first Portuguese composer to take the lessons of the polychoral works of the Gabrielis and others on board so fully; the works printed in his Psalmi, tum Vesperarum tum Completarum, Item Magnificat, Lamentationes et Miserere... (Rome 1657, published at the behest of the King himself) shows this beyond a doubt. The Psalms and other settings for Vespers and Compline show an amazing diversity of scoring, and an experimental approach to sonority. His instrumental parts are often very taxing, and questions of balance between instruments and voices need to be solved with great care. The thirteen-part Magnificat is possibly the most magnificent of these works, mixing as it does choirs of singers, solo singers, and voices and instruments. It has an abstract architectural quality, however, in common with many of the Psalm settings, which is quite foreign to Gabrieli’s style. Rebelo takes hold of the texts and moulds them to suit his purposes, sometimes repeating endlessly (over half the duration of «Super aspidem», for example, is taken up by the repetition of the words ‘et conculcabis leonem et draconem’), and sometimes going through the words at an astonishing pace. Rebelo’s style is wilful, then, in this sense, but the structural certainty of the music is utterly convincing. At the basis of this there may be detected something typically Portuguese: in spite of its new guise, there is still a strong flavour in this music of the old contrapuntal style of Cardoso and Magalhäes, with its arching lines and unexpected chromaticisms.That Rebelo himself was no stranger to this is made quite clear in his sumptuous seven-part motet Panis Angelicus, and that opening verse of the Magnificat also does rather more than nod in that direction. Psalm settings such as the impressive Ecce nunc betray this heritage in a rather more subtle way: the interest is clearly in combining and opposing textures and colours, but each unit of sound is built up with an attention to detail which shows the hand of a composer deeply familiar with the polyphonic style.»

     For me, the Portuguese music of the end of 16th-century and beginning of the 17th-century is really the most interesting compositing school of this moment in Europe. Pieces like this Lamentation, composed in the advanced 17th-century, are until in a clear stile antico, altought we can see in they some features of the Baroque lenguage. The mixture is unique and really impresive. The quality of this music is absolutely amazing.
Huelgas Ensemble and Paul Van Nevel performed fantastically the Portuguese music. This is an extraordinary example. The deeply in this performance is simply stunning. The perfection is really near of this.

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