Cantum Mensurable

Editions of Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Polyphony


28 Nov 2011

Estêvão de Brito

Portuguese composer mainly active in Spain.

Portuguese composer Estêvão de Brito was born in Serpa (near Évora) c1575 and died in Málaga somewhere between 25 May and 2 December 1641. According to Barbosa Machado, in his Bibliotheca Lusitana, he studied music with Filipe de Magalhães at Évora Cathedral.

On 1 June 1597 he was appointed maestro de capilla at the Cathedral of Badajoz, although he had been performing the duties of the office since at least 8 February. In February 1608 he was ordained by the Archbishop of Évora, upon a recommendation of Badajoz Cathedral chapter. In the following three years the chapter would give him time off, in November, to compose Christmas villancicos.

On 16 February 1613 he was elected, among other five candidates, maestro de capilla of Málaga Cathedral. In Málaga, as at Badajoz, he was also given time off to compose villancicos for Christmas and for Corpus Christi festivities. In January 1618 he was offered the post of maestro de capilla of the Madrid royal chapel. He refused that post, for reasons that are still unknown. He remained at Málaga as maestro de capilla, teacher of the choirboys and composer until he became hill in November 1640.

Luís C. F. Henriques