Music history of Portugal

Music history of Portugal

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Liturgical repertoire

In the early days of the Catholic Church, several local liturgies developed, such as the Gallican in France, the Sarum in England, the antique Roman in Rome, the Ambrosian rite
Ambrosian Rite
Ambrosian Rite, also called the Milanese Rite, is a Catholic liturgical Western Rite. The rite is named after Saint Ambrose, a bishop of Milan in the fourth century...

 in Milan. The Visigothic Council of Toledo organized the Hispanic rite (Visigothic or Mozarab are variant terms) in 633.

The main source of on the Hispanic rite is the León Antifonary (tenth century), which was most probably copied from an original collected in Beja
Beja (Portugal)
Beja is a city in the Beja Municipality in the Alentejo region, Portugal. The municipality has a total area of 1,147.1 km² and a total population of 34,970 inhabitants. The city proper has a population of 21,658....

 (now in Alentejo, southern Portugal). The Beja region is home to one of the earliest mentions of a musician, in the activity of Andre Princeps Cantorum (489 - 525).
The oldest manuscript (eleventh century) of Portuguese liturgical music in Toledan Hispanic notation is kept at the University of Coimbra General Library
University of Coimbra General Library
The University of Coimbra General Library is the central library of the University of Coimbra, in Coimbra, Portugal....

. Most other existing documents use Aquitan notation. From the middle of the thirteenth century on, the notation presents typically Portuguese variations; this Portuguese notation was used until the fifteenth century, when modern notation in staves was adopted.

However, the church would start worrying soon about the proliferation of liturgies. From the mixture of the galican liturgy with the antique Roman one would result, traditionally under pope Gregory I (540-604), the modern Roman liturgy, also known as Gregorian liturgy, comprising the Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services...

. This would become the official liturgy of the Catholic Church and substituted gradually the local ones. In the Iberian Peninsula, the Council of Burgos decreed the substitution of the Hispanic rite by the modern Roman one in 1080. This measure was eased by the fact that, during the Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

, most part of the bishops were French (Gérard, Maurice Bourdin, Jean Péculier, Bernard, Hughes).

Profane music

In Portugal, an aristocratic poetical-musical genre was cultivated, at least since the independence (1143), whose texts are kept in three main collections (Cancioneiros): Cancioneiro da Ajuda (13th century), Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional
Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional
The Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional , commonly called Colocci-Brancuti, is a compilation of Galician-Portuguese lyrics by both troubadours and jograes...

 (16th, on originais from the 14th), Cancioneiro da Vaticana
Cancioneiro da Vaticana
The Cancioneiro da Vaticana is a compilation of troubadour lyrics in Galician-Portuguese. It was discovered c. 1840 in the holdings of the Vatican Library and was first transcribed by Ernesto Monaci in 1875....

 (16th, on originais from the 14th).
The 1680 poems kept in the Cancioneiros are divided in three forms: cantigas de amigo, cantigas de amor and cantigas de escárnio e maldizer. The intrinsic link to music is well expressed in the Cancioneiro da Ajuda, where the staves have been drawn, but no melodies have been written...

The only known musical source known until recently was due to a bookseller in Madrid, who found in the beginning of the 20th century a parchment with the seven Cantigas de Amigo by Martin Codax, six of them with the respective melodies. Codax was a (Galician? Portuguese?) troubadour from the court of King Dinis I of Portugal. In 1990, Prof. Harvey L. Sharrer (Un. of California at Santa Barbara) discovered at the Torre do Tombo in Lisbon a medieval document (the Pergaminho Sharrer
Pergaminho Sharrer
The Pergaminho Sharrer is the name given to a mediaeval parchment fragment containing seven songs by King Dinis I of Portugal, with lyrics in the Galician-Portuguese language and musical notation....

) with seven Cantigas de Amor by King Dom Dinis, including its musical setting.

Development of polyphony

Little is known about the introduction of polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....

 in Portugal. Polyphony was used in nearby places, such as Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

 in Galicia (Spain), and it was imported to Portugal in well-developed stage. Jehan Simon de Haspre was a well-known composer and defender of the ars subtilior
Ars subtilior
Ars subtilior is a musical style characterized by rhythmic and notational complexity, centered around Paris, Avignon in southern France, also in northern Spain at the end of the fourteenth century. The style also is found in the French Cypriot repertory...

, and helped popularize polyphony while in the court of Fernando I.

The main centers for Portuguese musical development during this period was the royal chapel, the monasteries
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 (Santa Cruz Monastery in Coimbra
Santa Cruz Monastery
The Santa Cruz Monastery, The Santa Cruz Monastery, The Santa Cruz Monastery, (English: Monastery of the Holy Cross, Portuguese: Mosteiro de Santa Cruz, best known as Igreja (Church) de Santa Cruz is a National Monument in Coimbra, Portugal. Because the first two kings of Portugal are buried in the...

 and the Alcobaça Monastery), royal court
Royal court
Royal court, as distinguished from a court of law, may refer to:* The Royal Court , Timbaland's production company*Court , the household and entourage of a monarch or other ruler, the princely court...

, cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s (specially the Cathedral of Évora
Cathedral of Évora
The Cathedral of Évora is one of the oldest and most important monuments in the city of Évora, in Portugal, lying on the highest spot of the city...

) and the University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...


The royal chapel

The royal chapel was founded by D. Dinis in 1299. D. Duarte (1391–1438) elaborated a Regiment (Ordenaçam) of the Chapel, which indicates that the standard practice was a three-voice singing. His son, Afonso V (1432–1481), sent the Mestre de Capela (Master of the Chapel), Álvaro Afonso, to the court of Henry VI of England
Henry VI of England
Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, known as the Wars...

 (1421–1471) in order to get a copy of the statutes, regiment and liturgy practiced in the English Royal Chapel. The detailed description written by William Say is still kept at Évora.

The Court

As with the trovadoresque poetry, we keep important collections of texts of the 15th and 16th century (e.g. Cancioneiro Geral, compiled by Garcia de Resende), but the musical documents are fewer. The main sources of the court music in the Renaissance and Mannerist periods are: Cancioneiro de Elvas
Cancioneiro de Elvas
The Cancioneiro de Elvas is one of the four Renaissance songbooks of Portuguese music from the 16th century - along with the Lisbon Songbook, the Belém Songbook, and the Paris songbook...

 (Públia Hortênsia Library, at Elvas), Cancioneiro de Lisboa (National Library, Lisbon), Cancioneiro de Paris
Cancioneiro de Paris
The Cancioneiro de Paris is one of the four Renaissance songbooks of Portuguese music from the 16th century. It is one important source of secular music of the Iberian Renaissance and the largest one of Portuguese secular Renaissance music.It contains 130 profane villancicos and cantigas...

 (École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Paris), Cancioneiro de Belém
Cancioneiro de Belém
The Cancioneiro Musical de Belém or simply Cancioneiro de Belém is a Renaissance Portuguese manuscript from the beginning of the 17th century....

 (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia e Etnologia, Lisbon)

The poetical forms are the vilancete
The villancico was a common poetic and musical form of the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America popular from the late 15th to 18th centuries. With the decline in popularity of the villancicos in the 20th century, the term became reduced to mean merely "Christmas carol"...

 (or vilancico), the cantiga
A cantiga is a medieval monophonic song, characteristic of the Galician-Portuguese lyric. Over 400 extant cantigas come from the Cantigas de Santa Maria, narrative songs about miracles or hymns in praise of the Holy Virgin...

 and the romance. The first two, similar to the French virelai
A virelai is a form of medieval French verse used often in poetry and music. It is one of the three formes fixes and was one of the most common verse forms set to music in Europe from the late thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries.A virelai is similar to a rondeau...

 and to the Italian ballata
The ballata is an Italian poetic and musical form, which was in use from the late 13th to the 15th century. It has the musical structure AbbaA, with the first and last stanzas having the same texts. It is thus most similar to the French musical 'forme fixe' virelai...

, are generally dedicated to the love thematic, though satire and social criticism are not excluded. They share a refrain and stanzas structure. The romance is dedicated to celebrate historical events, applying the same musical text to all the stanzas of the poem.

The Cathedrals

Cardinal-Princes D. Afonso (1509–1540) and D. Henrique
Henrique is the name of two rulers and two princes of Portugal:*Henry, Count of Portugal .*Henry I, King of Portugal .*Henry the Navigator , a royal prince and important figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire....

 (1512–1580), sons of D. Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

 (1469–1521) administrated the main Portuguese dioceses through the 16th century. Afonso administrated the Évora and Lisboa dioceses until his death. Henrique was successively Archbishop of Braga, Lisboa and Évora, as well as head of the Portuguese Inquisition. He became King of Portugal when his grand-nephew Sebastião I (1554–1578) died at Alcácer-Quibir (1578). As princes, they had their personal chapels and imposed a magnificent liturgy in the cathedrals they administrated.
In Évora, D. Afonso attracted high-quality musicians (like Mateus de Aranda, Mestre de Capela from 1528 to 1544) for the cathedral by establishing significant wages; Pedro do Porto
Pedro de Escobar
Pedro de Escobar , a.k.a. Pedro do Porto, was a Portuguese composer of the Renaissance, mostly active in Spain. He was one of the earliest and most skilled composers of polyphony in the Iberian Peninsula, whose music has survived.-Life:He was born at Oporto, Portugal, but nothing is known of his...

 (also known as Pedro Escobar, El Portugués), Cantor of the chapel of Isabel I of Castile, the Catholic Queen, and Master of the choir boys at Sevilla, comes as Mestre de Capela to Évora. He is the author of the most ancient polyphonic piece by a Portuguese author (a three-voice Magnificat
The Magnificat — also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary — is a canticle frequently sung liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn...

), as well as the most ancient polyphonic treatment of the Requiem
A Requiem or Requiem Mass, also known as Mass for the dead or Mass of the dead , is a Mass celebrated for the repose of the soul or souls of one or more deceased persons, using a particular form of the Roman Missal...

 in the Iberian Peninsula. D. Afonso also founded a school for the choir boys, allowing them to study after the voice-change; many of these boys became professional musicians. This Évora school formed high-standard musicians for more than 150 years.
Besides Évora, Braga and Coimbra show a particular care in the liturgy. The most ancient version from a Mass by a Portuguese author is from a Cantor of the Coimbra cathedral, Fernão Gomes Correia (active 1505-32).

The Main Monasteries

The most important monasteries kept a solemn liturgy. From these, the Santa Cruz Monastery
Santa Cruz Monastery
The Santa Cruz Monastery, The Santa Cruz Monastery, The Santa Cruz Monastery, (English: Monastery of the Holy Cross, Portuguese: Mosteiro de Santa Cruz, best known as Igreja (Church) de Santa Cruz is a National Monument in Coimbra, Portugal. Because the first two kings of Portugal are buried in the...

, in Coimbra, had a particular importance. Founded in the 12th century by D. Afonso Henriques, it was the first school of superior studies in Portugal (St. Anthony of Padua - or of Lisbon - studied there). In the 16th century, several monks distinguished by their musical gifts, as D. Heliodoro de Paiva and D. Francisco de Santa Maria. The musical performances at Santa Cruz competed with those at El Escorial
El Escorial
The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a historical residence of the king of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres northwest of the capital, Madrid, in Spain. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and...

, and were praised for their conciliation between polyphony and the respect for the sacred texts.

The University

The Portuguese University was founded in Lisbon by D. Dinis in 1290 and had a Music teacher as early as 1323. After several transfers between Coimbra and Lisbon, King João III (1502–1557) established it definitively at Coimbra in 1537. The move to Coimbra was followed by a reorganization in 1544, in which the King himself proposed Mateus de Aranda (Mestre de Capela at Évora after Pedro do Porto) as music teacher. The music teacher was also Mestre de Capela of the University.

Historical context

In the end of the 16th century, the circumstances lead to the disappearing of profane music in Portugal and a taking over by religious music. There are economical and political factors, like the troubles to keep the Portuguese conquests in Morocco and the competition led by Venetians and Turks (later by Dutch and English) to the spice trade, which leads to the closing of the Portuguese feitoria
Factory (trading post)
Factory was the English term for the trading posts system originally established by Europeans in foreign territories, first within different states of medieval Europe, and later in their colonial possessions...

 (which was a kind of "spice supermarket") in Antwerp. In cultural terms, the influence of the Counter-Reformation
The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

 in Portugal is enormous: i) João III introduces the Inquisition in Portugal in 1536; his brother Henrique will be the first General Inquisitor; ii) the Jesuits come to Portugal in 1540 and soon start teaching in their own colleges in Coimbra and Lisbon. In 1555, they are in charge of the Arts College in Coimbra (the superior school in Portugal with most prestige), after the expulsion by the Inquisition of its most reputed teachers (like André de Gouveia
André de Gouveia
André de Gouveia was a Portuguese humanist and pedagogue during the Renaissance.André de Gouveia became one of the first Portuguese to study in the Collège Sainte-Barbe, in Paris, which was then directed by his uncle Diogo de Gouveia...

); iii) the Portuguese church participated actively in the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 and, in 1564, Portugal becomes the only Catholic country where the council decisions (namely those concerning the musical practice in the church) are integrally published as laws.
In this context, the profane music declined in the courts of João III and his grandson Sebastião I. In 1578, with the death of Sebastião I, Cardinal Henrique becomes king of Portugal. After his death in 1580, Portugal loses its independence, as the throne is inherited by Felipe II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

, king of Spain (1527–1598). With the disappearance of the court in Lisbon, the aristocracy retired to their homes in the countryside, and the profane music nearly vanishes. The development of the Portuguese music in the end of 16th is thus mainly in the sacred polyphony.

Climax of the Évora school

In 1575, Cardinal Henrique brought Manuel Mendes
Manuel Mendes
Manuel Mendes was a Portuguese composer and teacher of the Renaissance. While his music remains obscure, he was important as the teacher of several of the composers of the golden age of Portuguese polyphony, including Duarte Lobo and Manuel Cardoso.He was born in Lisbon, and studied music with...

 (?-1605), Mestre de Capela at Portalegre, to Évora, where he took the Mestre de Claustra position. Besides his qualities as a composer, Manuel Mendes is remarkable as a teacher. He formed the most part of the extremely competent professional musicians who would have the most reputed musical positions in Portugal in the next decades. Between his students at Évora, we have the most noted poliphonists of the next generation: Fr. Manuel Cardoso
Manuel Cardoso
Manuel Cardoso was a Portuguese composer and organist. With Duarte Lobo and John IV of Portugal, he represented the "golden age" of Portuguese polyphony....

 (1566–1650), Filipe de Magalhães ( - 1652) and Duarte Lobo
Duarte Lobo
Duarte Lobo was a Portuguese composer of the late Renaissance and early Baroque. He was one of the most famous Portuguese composers of the time, together with Filipe de Magalhães, Manuel Cardoso, composers who all began their academic studies as students of Manuel Mendes...

 (1564/69-1646) [6]. These continued the pedagogical action of their teacher, worthing him references as «mestre de toda boa musica deste reino» («teacher of every good music in this kingdom») and «el Mendes Sonoroso que de Musicos llena toda a Europa» («the sound Mendes who replenishes Europe with musicians»).

Santa Cruz at Coimbra

The main composers in the 17th century are D. Pedro de Cristo, D. Pedro da Esperança and D. Gabriel de S. João. The manuscripts kept at the General Library of the University of Coimbra reveal innovative polyphonic practices, such as polychorality, accompanied monody and instrument obligato.

The Royal Chapel

In spite of the absence of the King, it remains an important centre, with Mestres de Capela such as Francisco Garro, Filipe de Magalhães and Marcos Soares Pereira.

Chapel of the Dukes of Bragança at Vila Viçosa

During the Spanish domination, the duke of Bragança retired to his palace in Vila Viçosa
Vila Viçosa
Vila Viçosa is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 195.0 km² and a total population of 8,745 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of 5 parishes, and is located in the District of Évora....

. The ducal chapel maintained a magnificent liturgy and, in 1609, Teodósio II founded the Santos Reis Magos College, working in a similar way to the Évora school. Roberto Tornar, mestre de Capela at Vila Viçosa, would become the musical instructor of the young Duke of Barcelos, D. João (later D. João IV, king of Portugal). D. João would become a melomaniac and, after inheriting the ducal title and even after becoming King of Portugal, would enlarge immensely the musical library of his father, transforming it in the biggest musical library of the time in Europe. D. João IV was a composer and a theorist himself, though a limited one. As a patron of the music, D. João paid a special friendship to his music-classes mate at Vila Viçosa, João Lourenço Rebelo (1610–1661), whose works he would send for printing at Rome. João Lourenço Rebelo, as the Santa Cruz friars, composed in an innovative style, making use of an opulent polychoral writing à la Giovanni Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli was an Italian composer and organist. He was one of the most influential musicians of his time, and represents the culmination of the style of the Venetian School, at the time of the shift from Renaissance to Baroque idioms.-Biography:Gabrieli was born in Venice...


Instrumental music

It is in the organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

 domain, the liturgical instrument par excellence, that is placed the essential of the instrumental music in the mannerist period. Portuguese organs, as well as the Spanish ones, characterized for the existence of only one manual
Manual (music)
A manual is a keyboard designed to be played with the hands on a pipe organ, harpsichord, clavichord, electronic organ, or synthesizer. The term "manual" is used with regard to any hand keyboard on these instruments to distinguish it from the pedalboard, which is a keyboard that the organist plays...

, without pedalboard. The Iberian organ has original characteristics as the meio-registo ("half-stop", dividing the keyboard in two distinct parts and allowing accentuated timbrical contrasts between the two halves) and the horizontal placing ("em chamada") of particularly strident reed
Reed (instrument)
A reed is a thin strip of material which vibrates to produce a sound on a musical instrument. The reeds of most Woodwind instruments are made from Arundo donax or synthetic material; tuned reeds are made of metal or synthetics.-Single reeds:Single reeds are used on the mouthpieces of clarinets...

The first printed volume of Portuguese instrumental music is the "Flores de Música para o instrumento de tecla e harpa" ("Music flowers for the keyboard instrument and harp"), by Manuel Rodrigues Coelho (1620), which contains only sacred compositions. Coelho worked as an organist in the Badajoz, Elvas and Lisbon cathedrals and finally in the Royal Chapel.
In Braga, appears to have developed a flourishing organ school in the 17th century, dominated by Gaspar dos Reis, Mestre de Capela of the cathedral. Other relevant composers are Pedro de Araújo and Fr. Diogo da Conceição.
In the typically Iberian repertoire, we count the Tento de Meio-Registo (Half-Stop Tento) and the Batalha (Battle). This last form goes back to one of the most famous pieces by Clément Janequin
Clément Janequin
Clément Janequin was a French composer of the Renaissance. He was one of the most famous composers of popular chansons of the entire Renaissance, and along with Claudin de Sermisy, was hugely influential in the development of the Parisian chanson, especially the programmatic type...

 - La bataille de Marignan ou La Guerre, in which the characteristic sounds of a battle are imitated. The Iberian composers tried to use the same effects in sacred works, in an allusion to the mystical battle between good and evil.

João V, the Magnificent

In the end of the 17th, Portuguese composers gradually evolve towards the new musical language that would result in the modern tonalism. The government of D. João V (1689–1750) marks a profound transition in the Portuguese society and culture. After the definitive peace with Spain, the monarch will try to modernize the Portuguese economy and to drive the country to a development scheme similar to the French Absolutism of Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

. The main originality on D. João V's absolutism is that he managed, using his influence with the Pope, to face the huge political, economical and cultural power of the Church, by reorganizing it in order to strength its unity and discipline and then putting it under the royal authority. In a very clever process, João V got for his chapel the dignity of Patriarchal Basilica, by dividing the Lisbon archdioceses. The chaplain became a Cardinal. Then he got the reunification of the dioceses under the command of the royal chaplain. So, the Cardinal-Patriarch, Archbishop of Lisbon, was merely the chaplain of the King of Portugal...
João V took a special care with the liturgy in his chapel, with he wanted as monumental as the Papal chapel in Rome. He got it repeating somehow the formula of Cardinal D. Afonso two hundred years before: contracting high-standard professional musicians and creating structures for the adequate formation of Portuguese musicians. As such, he contracted the brilliant Master of the Capella Giulia, in Rome, Domenico Scarlatti
Domenico Scarlatti
Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti was an Italian composer who spent much of his life in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families. He is classified as a Baroque composer chronologically, although his music was influential in the development of the Classical style...

, as Mestre da Capela Real and music teacher of princess D. Maria Magdalena Bárbara
Barbara of Portugal
Barbara of Portugal was an Infanta of Portugal and later Queen of Spain as wife of Ferdinand VI of Spain.-Life in Portugal:...

 and founded in 1713 a specialized school annex to the Patriarchal Basilica: the Patriarchal Seminary, which would become the major music school in Portugal and form generations of professional musicians of remarkable quality until the foundation of the National Conservatory in 1835. The most gifted students of the Patriarcal Seminary were sent to Rome at the King's expenses. Those were the cases, namely, of António Teixeira, João Rodrigues Esteves and Francisco António de Almeida, who were hence formed in the Roman ecclesiastic baroque school and had the chance of getting acquainted with the Roman operatic tradition.

Opera and its beginnings

The first performance of Il Don Chisciotte della Mancia, with music by Scarlatti took place in 1728 in the Ribeira Palace at Lisbon. This was the first operatic-style performance in Portugal and was followed by other opera buffa performances in the Royal Palace in the years to come. However, they had little impact in the music life, not only because the public had extremely limited access, but also because the King did not pay much attention to them. It was in the Trindade Theatre, in 1735, that the Alessandro Paghetti company had permission to perform the first opera seria for a wider (aristocratic) audience. The success was enormous and the company kept performing until 1742, now in the Rua dos Condes Theatre. At the same time, a set of performances in Portuguese by António José da Silva
António José da Silva
António José da Silva was a Portuguese-Brazilian dramatist, known as "the Jew" . The Brazilian spelling of his first name is Antônio.-Life:...

's (o Judeu) plays had begun (1733) in the Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto is an area of central Lisbon, Portugal.The first terrain division occurred around 1500, when the court of D.Manuel I moved from the castle to the royal palace in Terreiro do Paço...

 Theatre , with music by António Teixeira
António Teixeira
António Teixeira was a Portuguese composer.Born and died in Lisbon. He was a royal scholar in Rome from 1714 to 1728, and on 11 June of that year was elected chaplain-singer of Lisbon Cathedral and examiner in plainchant for the Lisbon patriarchy...

. The audience of these plays grew even wider. However, D. João V became ill in 1742, and the mysticism that surrounded him in his last years resulted in a prohibition against all theatrical performances until his death.

Instrumental music

Undoubtedly, the most important Portuguese keyboard composer of the time is José António Carlos Seixas
Carlos Seixas
José António Carlos de Seixas, , was a Portuguese composer, the son of the cathedral organist, Francisco Vaz and Marcelina Nunes.Seixas was born in Coimbra...

 (1704–1742). Son of Francisco Vaz, organist of the Coimbra Cathedral, Carlos Seixas goes, with only sixteen years of age, but already very famous, to Lisbon, where he is appointed as organist of the Patriarchal Cathedral. There, he would soon be appointed as Vice-Mestre de Capela (the Mestre de Capela was Scarlatti himself and Seixas was, at the time, the only Portuguese member of the Royal Chapel). Seixas has left us 105 two-part baroque Sonatas (or Tocatas) for keyboard. He also wrote religious and orchestral music. However, his most original contribution is a Concert for harpsichord and strings, one of the first examples of this form in Europe.

Opera and Sacred music under D. José I and D. Maria I

With D. José I (1714–1777), the operatic activity is taken again. The neapolitan David Perez (1711–1778), one of the most reputed Italian opera composers, is hired in 1752. The climax of Perez activity would be the inauguration of the monumental Tejo's Opera, in March 1755, with the opera Alessandro nell'Indie. But the Lisbon earthquake of the 1st November 1755 destroyed the new building, together with Lisbon downtown. The royal palace also disappeared, and with it the musical Library of D. João IV.
After the earthquake, the public theatres like the Rua dos Condes Theatre and the Bairro Alto Theatre are rebuilt (but not the Tejo's Opera). Already under D. Maria I, would be built the S. Carlos Theatre (now Teatro Nacional de S. Carlos), in Lisbon (1792) and the S. João Theatre in Oporto (1798). The neapolitan influence is enormous and, under D. José and D. Maria, the gifted music students of the Patriarchal are sent to Santo Onofre Conservatory in Naples. Afterwards, these students distinguished in the Neapolitan operatic style, as well as in the sacred music. Between these we have João de Sousa Carvalho
João de Sousa Carvalho
João de Sousa Carvalho was the foremost Portuguese composer of his generation.Born in Estremoz, he studied music from 1753 at the Colégio dos Santos Reis in Vila Viçosa, then from 1761 at the Conservatorio di S Onofrio in Naples. In 1766 his setting of Metastasio’s operatic libretto La Nitteti was...

 (1745–1798), a Vila Viçosa school student and perhaps the most prominent composer of the 2nd half of the 18th century. Besides his operatic and sacred music production, he may also be considered the most remarkable keyboard composer of the time.
Other relevant Portuguese composers of the time are Jerónimo Francisco de Lima, Luciano Xavier dos Santos, José Joaquim dos Santos, José dos Santos Maurício, António Leal Moreira and, particularly, Marcos Portugal
Marcos Portugal
Marcos António da Fonseca Portugal was a Portuguese classical composer, who achieved great international fame for his operas in Italian....

, perhaps the Portuguese composer with the most international career ever.

The 19th Century

With the Napoleonic invasions, the Royal family goes to Brazil and the court establishes in the Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

. This presence would conduce to the independence of this colony (1822) and would be benefic as well to the development of Brazilian music (the first significative Brazilian composer is José Maurício Nunes Garcia
José Maurício Nunes Garcia
José Maurício Nunes Garcia was a Brazilian classical composer, one of the greatest exponents of Classicism in the Americas....

, member of the royal chapel at the Rio de Janeiro). Meanwhile, the constitutional régime is proclaimed (1820) and King D. João VI (1767–1826) is forced to come back. The activity of the Royal Chamber Orchestra (founded by D. João V), which had been in the previous century one of the most important chamber orchestras in Europe, declines irreversibly. However, in the turn of the 19th century, generalizes the tradition of amateur academies performing the contemporary instrumental music. The generalization of public concerts is due to João Domingos Bomtempo (1775–1842), the most prominent musical figure of the first half of the 19th century.
Bomtempo, son of an Italian musician of the court Orchestra, studied with the Patriarchal masters. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he was not interested in opera and, in 1801, instead of going to Italy, he travels to Paris, starting a virtuoso pianist career. He moves to London in 1810 and gets acquainted with the liberal circles. In 1822 he is back to Lisbon, and founds a Philharmonic Society to promote public concerts of the contemporary music. After the civil war between liberals and absolutists, Bomtempo becomes music teacher of Queen D. Maria II (1819–1853) and first Director of the National Conservatory, created in 1835 and which replaced the old Patriarchal Seminary, extinct by the liberal régime. As a composer, Bomtempo produced a vast amount of concerti, sonatas, variations and fantasias for the piano. His two known symphonies are the first to be produced by a Portuguese composer. The master piece of Bomtempo is his Requiem to the memory of Luís de Camões
Luís de Camões
Luís Vaz de Camões is considered Portugal's and the Portuguese language's greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare, Vondel, Homer, Virgil and Dante. He wrote a considerable amount of lyrical poetry and drama but is best remembered for his epic work Os Lusíadas...


The turn of the 20th century

All over the 19th century, there is a proliferation of the concert societies. Bernardo Moreira de Sá (1853–1924), in Oporto, is the director, among others, of the Quartet Society and forms the Moreira de Sá Quartet, which will have an international career. He will have a decisive influence in the Formation of the Oporto Conservatory (1917). However, opera remained as the favourite activity of Portuguese composers, though the creative activity moved slowly towards the symphonic and chamber music fields. The two most significative lyric composers are Alfredo Keil
Alfredo Keil
Alfredo Cristiano Keil was a Portuguese romantic composer and painter.Keil was born in Lisbon, the son of Johann Christian Keil and wife Maria Josefina Stellflug...

 (1850–1907) and Augusto Machado (1845–1924).
José Vianna da Motta
José Vianna da Motta
José Vianna da Motta was a distinguished Portuguese pianist, teacher, and composer. He was one of the last pupils of Franz Liszt...

 (1868–1948) and Luiz de Freitas Branco (1890–1955) have a special place in the Portuguese musical life in the turn of the 20th century.

Vianna da Motta

Vianna da Motta went to Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin in 1882 at King Fernando II's expenses. He also attended Liszt
Liszt is a Hungarian surname. Notable persons with that surname include:* Franz Liszt , Hungarian composer and pianist* Adam Liszt , father of Franz Liszt* Anna Liszt , mother of Franz Liszt...

 classes at Weimar in 1885, as well as Hans von Bülow
Hans von Bülow
Hans Guido Freiherr von Bülow was a German conductor, virtuoso pianist, and composer of the Romantic era. He was one of the most famous conductors of the 19th century, and his activity was critical for establishing the successes of several major composers of the time, including Richard...

's. In Germany, he started a career as a concertist and exceptional interpret of Bach, Beethoven and Liszt. During the First World War, he taught at Geneva Conservatory. In 1917, he came back to Portugal, becoming director of the National Conservatory. As a composer, he is very close to the German Romanticism, and dedicates himself to the production of a national style, by including and recreating the national folklore. His most emblematic work is the A Major Symphony "À Pátria" (1895).

Luiz de Freitas Branco

Luiz de Freitas Branco (1890–1955) is usually appointed as the «introducer of modernism in Portugal», by his decisive role in the approximation of Portuguese music to the most innovative European aesthetics, namely the Schönberg atonalism and the French impressionism. Pupil of Augusto Machado and Tomás Borba, he studied with the Belgian organist and composer Désiré Pâque and, in 1910, went to Berlin to study with Humperdinck
Engelbert Humperdinck
Engelbert Humperdinck was a German composer, best known for his opera, Hänsel und Gretel. Humperdinck was born at Siegburg in the Rhine Province; at the age of 67 he died in Neustrelitz, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.-Life:After receiving piano lessons, Humperdinck produced his first composition...

. There, he attended to a performance of Debussy's Pélleas et Mélisande, which was determinant in his aesthetic orientation. In his early work we count the symphonic poems "Váthek" and "Paraísos Artificiais" and several piano pieces. His prolific production includes five symphonies, a violin concert and enumerous vocal works.

Other composers

In the turn of the 20th century, other relevant composers are Francisco de Lacerda (1869–1934), Óscar da Silva (1870–1958), Luiz Costa (1879–1960) and António Fragoso (1897–1918). Lacerda was as well a famous director specialist in the French and Russian repertoire. He became assistant of Vincent d'Indy
Vincent d'Indy
Vincent d'Indy was a French composer and teacher.-Life:Paul Marie Théodore Vincent d'Indy was born in Paris into an aristocratic family of royalist and Catholic persuasion. He had piano lessons from an early age from his paternal grandmother, who passed him on to Antoine François Marmontel and...

 at the Schola Cantorum
Schola Cantorum
The Schola Cantorum de Paris is a private music school in Paris. It was founded in 1894 by Charles Bordes, Alexandre Guilmant and Vincent d'Indy as a counterbalance to the Paris Conservatoire's emphasis on opera...

 in Paris. His musical language is very close to that of Fauré
Faure or Fauré is a French family name and may refer to:People:* Edgar Faure, French politician* Élie Faure, French art historian and essayist* Émile Alphonse Faure, lead battery pioneer* Cédric Fauré, French football striker...

 and Debussy.

The Estado Novo régime

The military coup of 1926 installed in Portugal a dictatorship (self-called Estado Novo, "the new state") which would condition the Portuguese life for near half century. The concept of culture is substituted, in the main stream of European fascisms, by the concept of propaganda. This propaganda had its maximum height at the Nationality Centenary in 1940; the S. Carlos Theatre was then reopened after a restoration with an opera by the regime semi-official composer Ruy Coelho. Curiously, the most important figure of Portuguese musical life in that period is a composer who openly contested the régime and its aesthetic orientations and who, consequently, was forced to do his entire activity outside the institutional circuits: Fernando Lopes Graça.

Lopes Graça

Fernando Lopes Graça (1906–1995) was student of Tomás Borba, Luiz de Freitas Branco and Vianna da Motta at the National Conservatory and finished the Superior Course on Composition in 1931. He tried to get a position at that institution, but was arrested by political reasons and the place was not conceded to him.
He taught for some time in the Music Academy in Coimbra and, in 1937, went to Paris at his expenses, where he studied musicology. There he composed the first works of his musical maturity (2nd Piano Sonata, Quartet for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano). After coming back to Portugal in 1939, Lopes Graça taught at the Academia de Amadores de Música at Lisbon. Of his production, it worth mentioning the numerous harmonizations or adaptations of popular Portuguese songs for choir or soloist, the songs for voice and piano over the poems of the most important Portuguese poets, the innumerous political songs, as well as the symphonic music, chamber music and piano music production. Lopes Graça undertook, with the Corsican ethnologist Michael Giacometti, a systematic study of Portuguese folk music, which he assimilated and used thoroughly in his musical speech. His view from the folklore is far from the regime bucolic or picturesque view, rather strengthening the hard dimensions of rural life.
The contemporaries of Lopes Graça generally choose a more pacific conservative "neo-classic" style: these were the cases of Armando José Fernandes
Armando José Fernandes
Armando José Fernandes was a neoclassical Portuguese composer; with Jorge Croner de Vasconcelos, Fernando Lopes-Graça, and Pedro do Prado, one of the "group of four" who dominated mid-20th-century Portuguese music...

 (1906–1983), Jorge Croner de Vasconcelos (1910–1974), Frederico de Freitas
Frederico de Freitas
Frederico de Freitas was a Portuguese composer, conductor, musicologist, and pedagogue. He composed in many genres.-Reference:*...

 (1902–1980), Joly Braga Santos
Joly Braga Santos
José Manuel Joly Braga Santos, ComSE was a Portuguese composer and conductor, who was born and died in Lisbon. He wrote six symphonies.-Biography:...

 (1924–1988) and Cláudio Carneyro (1895–1963).

Contemporary Trends

The coup of April, 25th of 1974 restored the democracy in Portugal. The country knew a great development since then, particularly after the adhesion to the European Economic Community (now European Union) in 1986. The intellectual and cultural life had particular improvements. Music has also benefited from the increasing number of Conservatories and specialized superior schools, in a freedom context, as well as from the generalization of music festivals. The role of Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian
Calouste Gulbenkian
Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian was an Armenian businessman and philanthropist. He played a major role in making the petroleum reserves of the Middle East available to Western development...

(founded in 1953) has been of outstanding importance in every aspect of the cultural life, particularly the musical one.