Music in Angra Cathedral

As I was listening to some videos of concert recordings I found the one that is shared in this post. It is actually the recording of the first live performance I made with Ensemble da Sé de Angra, at Angra Cathedral July 28th, 2012. It was the first concert of a festival of sixteenth and seventeenth-century polyphony and organ music that I helped to organize.

It is the first of the two polyphonic settings of the invitatory for Christmas Matins Christus natus est nobis by early-seventeenth-century composer Estêvão Lopes Morago. Although not related, a couple of months before I identified three printed books of Portuguese polyphony by Duarte Lobo and Manuel Cardoso while cataloguing the Cathedral’s music archive. Morago’s work came as a means of expressing this find that, in part, proved my suspicion that there was in fact polyphonic activity in the Cathedral since Angra became a Diocese in 1534.

In 1570 a new Cathedral was launched and it was completed in the 1630s. Although there is no certain in this, my thesis is that the polyphonic books were acquired for the Cathedral after the new building was complete. This is also suggested by the print dates of the books. While two of the books (Duarte Lobo’s and Manuel Cardoso’s Magnificat settings) date from 1607 and 1613 respectively, the third book dates from 1621 (Lobo’s first book of masses), the later being acquired not before that one or two years before the printing date.

The Cathedral also had a fully organised music chapel by the first half of the seventeenth century. I’m working on this matter at the moment and hope to publish a preliminary study about this in the near future.