Manuel Cardoso


Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650) was born in Fronteira, Portugal, and died in Lisbon. He studied grammar and music at Évora Cathedral from 1574 (or 1575), being probably a pupil of Manuel Mendes. Famous for his musical gifts and religious virtue, he became mestre de capela and sub-prior in Lisbon, Convento do Carmo. In 1605 he publishes his first book of masses, dedicating it to the Duque de Barcelos, future King João IV (who kept a portrait of the composer in his music library). Cardoso also secured the patronage of Philip IV of Spain, dedicating to him his third book of masses which ends with a Missa Philippina, a composition that had been proposed to Cardoso by the mestre of the Royal Chapel, Mateo Romero. Cardoso travelled to Madrid in 1631 and was generously rewarded by the king. Cardoso’s music comes in the good continuity of traditional contrapuntal techniques, with virtuosic canons. He also uses chromatic inflexions and diminished and augmented vertical intervals that cause a high coloured and expressive language.