Carlos Seixas (15) - Sonata nº 71, harpsichord, A minor (Ketil Haugsand)





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Uploaded on Jan 17, 2010

CARLOS SEIXAS (1704 - 1742)
Sonata nº 71 for Harpsichord in A minor

Without tempo indication - Minuet I - Minuet II

Ketil Haugsand (harpsichord)

Short Biography
José António Carlos de Seixas was born in the parish of São Cristóvão (St. Christopher) in the city of Coimbra on 11 June 1704, the son of the Cathedral organist, Francisco Vaz, and Marcelina Nunes. He was also appointed organist of Coimbra Cathedral on 9 February 1718 to replace his father, who died thirteen days later. At some point between 1720 and 1722 Carlos Seixas moved to Lisbon, initially teaching the harpsichord at Court and subsequently becoming an organist at the Patriarchal Church. On 30 June 1733 he was appointed to the rank of Captain in the Company of Ordinances of the Palace. Carlos Seixas died in Lisbon on 25 August 1742 at his home behind the Church of Saint Anthony and was buried in the charnel-house of the Irmandade do Santíssimo Sacramento (Brotherhood of the Most Sacred Sacrament) of Basilical of Saint Mary (the present Cathedral).

Unlike his contemporaries Francisco António de Almeida (1702-?), António Teixeira (1707-?) and João Rodrigues Esteves (fl.1719-1751), who studied at Rome as scholars of the Crown between 1716 or 1717 and 1728, Carlos Seixas seems never to have left Portugal and must have been trained in the school of his father, heir to the 17th-century Iberian organ tradition, familiar from the tentos of Rodrigues Coelho and Correa de Arauxo, of Cabanilles, Aguilera de Herdedia and Pedro de Araújo. He had a considerable reputation as a performer, with regard to which José Mazza, around 1780, tells the following anecdote: The Most Serene Prince Antonio wanted the great Escarlate [Domenico Scarlatti], for he was at the time to be found in Lisbon [as chapelmaster to the Portuguese Royal Chapel between December 1719 and January 1727] to give him [Seixas] a lesson, governed by the erroneous idea that however hard the Portuguese try, they never manage to do what the foreign are able to accomplish, and sent him to the aforementioned; who only saw him put his fingers on the harpsichord, and recognizing the giant by his fingers, said to him. You could give me a lesson or two; and on seeing the Prince, said to him, Your highness sent him for me to assess, yet you should know that that man is one of the greatest exponents I have ever heard.. It would seem that the fame attached to Carlos Seixas lasted until the late eighteenth century, and even meriting a brief biographical entry in Ernst Ludwig Gerbers Historisch-biographisches Lexicon der Tonkunstler (vol. 2, Leipzig, 1792).

Carlos Seixas Works
Diogo Barbosa Machado informs us that Carlos Seixas composed Ten Masses in four and eight parts with various instruments. A Te Deum laudamus for four choirs, to be sung on the last day of the year at the Church of São Roque. Seven hundred toccatas for harpsichord. Various motets in two, three and four parts, some with instruments, some without. (Bibliotheca lusitana, vol. IV, p. 199). But the output of keyboard and chamber music that has come down to us includes only a hundred and five authenticated sonatas, thought in recent times a further twenty-seven have been attributed to him. The sonatas, in particular, are of rather uneven quality, presumably a consequence of the players with varying degrees of competence, from the amateur beginner to the consummate virtuoso), as much as the nature of the surviving sources all of them copies made after the composers dead and the precariousness of the means of transmission that they suggest. A further fourteen sacred works by Seixas survive (three of them being attributions and two incomplete), as do an Ouverture in D major for string orchestra. Another Concerto for harpsichord and strings, this time in G minor, preserved in a manuscript at the Biblioteca Geral of Coimbra University, thought anonymous in the source, has been ascribed tentatively to Seixas. The work and the figure of Carlos Seixas were rediscovered in modern times by Macario Santiago Kastner, whose publications (Cravistas portugueses, 2 vols., Mainz, 1935 and 1950; Carlos Seixas, Coimbra, 1947; Carlos Seixas: 80 Sonatas para instrumentos de tecla, Lisbon, 1965; Carlos Seixas: 25 Sonatas para instrumentos de tecla, Lisbon, 1980) succeeded in awakening a permanent interest in the composer on the part of both players and musicologist worldwide.

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