A modern-day premiere?

This morning’s mass setting forms part of our Cardoso450 project. Cardoso’s Missa Anima mea turbata est valde is based upon a motet of the same name by King John IV of Portugal. Only two of the motet’s six parts survive (Alto 2 and Bass); the relationship between the motet and mass is explored in detail by Owen Rees (article). Below are two short examples that show the clear link between melodic phrases of the motet and the mass.

But what about the modern-day premiere claim?

As in several of his masses, Cardoso shows off his skills as a writer of complex canons in the second Agnus Dei. The majority of the mass is for four voices – SATB; here the texture expands to six – SSAATB, yet only three are written – AAT. The music for the three unwritten voices is found by following the printed directions – above Altus 1: Superius in diapente (soprano up a fifth), above Altus 2: Tres unum, Bassus in subdiapason, Superius in diapente (bass down an octave, soprano up a fifth).

Cardoso is explicit about there being two superius parts, both singing an altus part a fifth higher, yet the only extant modern edition (to our knowledge) of the mass – within Portugaliæ Musica Vol. XX, Lisbon 1970 – gives a voicing of SAATTB, rather inexplicably transcribing one of the intended superius parts an octave lower as a tenor part. Furthermore, the conclusion of the movement contains some editorial invention resulting in parallel 5ths not present in the original. To show the extent of the differences, we have produced this PDF giving the two versions of the conclusion of the mass.

Fidelity to Cardoso’s intentions has been the bedrock of this project. As we enter the last three months of Cardoso450, it is encouraging to realise that there are still important discoveries to be made in his music. Anyone using the extant edition has not sung the music as Cardoso wrote it and, while not discounting the possibility that others have done as we have, the absence of any other edition allows us to claim that we will be giving the modern-day premiere of the second Agnus Dei.