Manuel Cardoso • In Monte Oliveti

In February 2013 I made several concerts with Ensemble da Sé de Angra in Terceira Island (Azores). One of these concerts was in the Church of Santa Cruz of Praia da Vitória, where we made the recording presented in this post.

The responsory In Monte Oliveti, for four voices (SATB), by Fr. Manuel Cardoso comes from his collection of works, the Livro de varios motetes, printed by the Craesbeeck workshop in 1648. This is a vast collection that includes motets for Advent and Lent, as well as settings for Holy Week and the Officium Defunctorum, with lessons, lamentations, hymns and responsories. The responsory is included in the settings for the triduum sacrum and, in this case, it is destined for the office of Matins on Maundy Thursday, interspersed with lamentations and responsories for this service.

In Monte Oliveti follows the main characteristics of the responsory-writing of the time. For comparison listen to Francisco Martins’ setting which were written around the time of Cardoso’s publication of the Livro de varios motetes. The three-section work is mostly written in an homophonic texture. It is interesting to note the opening phrase, with a chromatic inflexion in the superius, one of Cardoso’s characteristic features. Contrary to most cases, where the composers reduce the texture from four to three voices, the verse of In Monte Oliveti is set as a plainchant attributed to the bassus.

The recording is from Ensemble da Sé de Angra’s concert at the Igreja Matriz de Santa Cruz (city of Praia da Vitória) 3 February 2013, where we also sung other music for Lent and Holy week by Portuguese composers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this video Ensemble da Sé de Angra is Carolina Barbosa (superius), Ana Sousa (altus), Luís Henriques (tenor), and Jorge Barbosa (bassus).