Even though Portuguese composer Manuel Cardoso lived well into the early Baroque era, his music was informed by the older Renaissance polyphony of Palestrina, and despite the dramatic stylistic changes that developed elsewhere in Europe, his works remained rather conservative and representative of the church music of the Counter-Reformation. Like his older Spanish contemporary Tomás Luis de Victoria, Cardoso's best-known work is his Requiem (Missa pro defunctis a 4), which is perhaps the most frequently performed of his surviving compositions, which were published in five volumes in Lisbon between 1613 and 1648. Among Cardoso's other unaccompanied choral works on this 2018 Hyperion release by the eight-member vocal ensemble Cupertinos, directed by Luís Toscano, are the Lamentations for Maundy Thursday, the Magnificat secundi toni a 4, and several motets that were dedicated to Cardoso's patron, King João IV and arranged in publication according to the ecclesiastical year. The sound of Cupertinos' performances alternates between chaste purity and vibrant richness, due to the shifting textures of the counterpoint, written for 4 and sometimes 6 voices, and the highly resonant acoustics of the Basílica do Bom Jesus in Braga, Portugal produce sustained reverberations that can be heard after cadences. This is a lovely album of Cardoso's music, which is becoming much better known, thanks to the attention paid by several excellent choirs, of which Cupertinos must be counted among the finest. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Lamentations for Maundy Thursday, Feria quinta in Coena Domini|
|Missa pro defunctis a 4|