Portuguese composer Pero de Gamboa was born in an unknown date and died in Vila Nova de Famalicão (near Braga) 17 March 1638. Not much is known of his life although we know the dates of some appointments he took. In this way he was mestre de capela at Braga cathedral from at least 1585 to at least 1587 or 1591. He was also, from July 1584, at the abbey of S. Paio de Arcos, and from 1591 a priest at S. Salvador de Bente. On 26 April 1635 he endowed masses at Braga cathedral, for his former patro Archbishop João Afonso de Menezes.
Gamboa’s musical output, almost all works for four voices, is preserved in five manuscripts at Biblioteca Pública Municipal, in Oporto. They consist of motets, with special emphasis, De profundis, O Bone Jesu, O Crux Ave, Salve Sancte Pater, O Sacrum convivium, Emendemus in melius, Egressus Jesus, Surrexit Dominus, Hodie Maria virgo, Estote fortes in bello, Miserere nostril Domine, and Beata viscera. There is also a Te Deum and a Jesu Redemptor.
Gamboa’s musical style, although conventional in terms of in their reliance on imitative counterpoint, reveal some skills in terms of musical rhetoric, which confers, sometimes inflated, expressiveness to the predominatly imitative textures, always transparent, even when the music is written for equal voices. This puts Gamboa’s music among the masterworks of 16th-century Portuguese music.
Luís C. F. Henriques