Help: Portuguese Organ Music
  • Ok, so this has to be an obscure topic. Can anyone point me in the direction of organ scores of Portuguese composers pre 1850?

    You may reply PM, if that's easier.

    Thanks for any help
  • I have two volumes published by Schott, called Cravistas Portuguezes which present a variety of baroque vintage composers. Some of the offerings are suitable for organ, while others are really more suitable for harpsichord - though they all have been played on the organ many times to great effect.
  • MJO,

    Thank you.

    Here's my reason for asking: our Oratory is hosted by a Portuguese parish, and I thought I would like to learn some Portuguese organ music so I can use some if it on the newly restored pipe organ at events during the centenary year.

    Do you know of any good books about Portuguese composers, or Portuguese organs? For that matter, were there any indigenous organ builders?

    Why not just "google" this? Intelligent, informed opinion is valuable to me.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,027
    Coehlo wrote some very nice stuff shortly after the time of Cabezon...but most of them are LOOOOOONG (the tiento I played was 220 bars or something crazy). I think either Apfel or Angles edited a big volume called "Monuments of Iberian Keyboard Music" or something. We had the whole collection at the WVU libraries and it took up MANY shelves.
  • My knowledge of Portuguese music is limited to the two volumes I mentioned above. A good place to make an initial investigation might be Groves? Also, you might contact Robert Bates at the Univ of Houston. He is an authority on Spanish organ music whose knowledge might also extend to Portuguese. In addition to his celebrated CD of the complete works of Titelouze he has one due to be released of the complete works of Corea de Arauxo.

    Here are the sources that I have which have information about our subject:
    1. Survey of Organ Literature and Editions, Marilou de Wall Kratzenstein (Iowa)
    2. The History of Keyboard Music to 1700, Willi Apel (Indiana)

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,109
    Coelho's Flores is certainly the place to start; besides the 6-8 page tintos there are sets of versos of which the Kyrie del 1o is achingly beautiful. A modern edition appears in the Monuments of Portugese Music, that big orange set at the library, which has another volume with an anthology of other organ composers.

    This apparently complete edition is worth checking out too.
  • R J StoveR J Stove
    Posts: 302
    You probably already know the Vox Humana volume devoted to Portuguese organ repertoire (Number Five in the series), but if you don't, it's worth consulting. And fairly moderately priced: around $26, last time I looked. None of the compositions is particularly long, save for a big Coelho work, and even that is in several discrete sections. I've owned the volume for almost a decade, and occasionally used pieces from it in recitals as well as in church.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • If you have access to a good library, look for Volume XIX of Portugalia Musica: Antologia de Organistas do seculo XVI (Lisbon, 1961). One of my favorites in that collection is #24, a piece by Heliodoro de Paiva, born Lisbon ca. 1502, died Coimbra 1552, served at the monastery of Santa Cruz in Coimbra. But the whole volume is worth your while.
    Thanked by 1R J Stove
  • R J StoveR J Stove
    Posts: 302
    That 1961 Lisbon anthology is stocked by more libraries - including, it would appear, two Australian ones, in Canberra and in Brisbane - than you would think. Clearly Dr. Salazar had more skill in wielding cultural "soft power" than one might suppose.

    I haven't myself used the collection, but I was aware of it, and perhaps I can obtain access to it via inter-library loan. Heliodoro de Paiva's organ output is available on several CDs, by the way.

    Several pieces in the Vox Humana collection, which as I say I know quite well, are good concert material. As such, they can sometimes benefit from - and I apologize in advance to any Orgelbewegung types out there in whom the following will provoke a cerebro-vascular accident - discreet use of the pedals for the bass line. Manuals-only music is apt to sound twee on a three-manual instrument in an auditorium big enough to accommodate, say, 600 or 1,000 listeners. Tactful pedal reinforcement of the lowest voice, in early Portuguese (or Spanish) organ compositions, is no more inartistic than having double-basses in a string orchestra. It is done all the time (in French and English as well as Iberian manualiter works), even if not all organists fess up to it.