Francisco Martins

The Portuguese composer Francisco Martins was born in Évora c1620 or c. 1625 and died in Elvas, 20 March 1680. He became a choirboy at Évora Catedral, where his uncle Domingos Martins de Almeida had been master of the choirboys from 1608 to c1618. There have been appointed two possible dates: Domingos Barbosa Machado in his Bibliotheca Lusitana (1759) points to 20 June 1629, and José Augusto Alegria in his História da Escola de Música da Sé de Évora (1973) points towards 16 August 1634. Depending on the two dates, Martins would have studied either with Manuel Rebello (1629) or António Rodrigues Vilalva (1634). By 27 December 1650, Martins was already a priest and was Mestre de Capela at Elvas Cathedral, a post which he held until his dead, with the salary of 37,500 réis.

Martins's music is still most in the stile antico although he has some secular works (as villancicos) for solo or two voices and continuo. His polyphonic music is inflected with chromaticism, expressiveness and a very emotional impact. This emotion is seen especially in the responsories for Holy Week. Besides the responsories, he also wrote psalms, motets, masses and the above-mentioned villancicos.

Although he was a Mestre de Capela in a lesser important Portuguese Cathedral, his music is very complex, being a depositary of the long tradition of Évora Cathedral. This example, like Morago's in Viseu Cathedral, demonstrates the high level of the music practiced in the Portuguese cathedrals during the 16th and 17th centuries. A music still in stile antico, but of high quality and complexity. Martins closes, together with Diogo Dias Melgás, the golden polyphonic era of Évora Cathedral music school.

Luís Henriques

2 comentários to “Francisco Martins”

  • 19:47
    Mª Paz says:

    Thanks you for the information. I'm looking for any score but I can't found it.


  • 10:38

    Thank you for the comment. You can find some of my transcriptions of Martins' works here:

    Best wishes


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