Tribute to Vicente Lusitano, the first black composer of the 16th century
The Marian Consort

music by Vicente Lusitano, Tomás Luis de Victoria, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Dom Pedro de Cristo, Ghiselin Danckerts, Nicola Vicentino, João Lourenço Rebelo

Composer, music theorist and man of faith: we have very little to go on about the Portuguese Vicente Lusitano, known to have lived between 1520 and 1561, when all traces of him disappeared. Not so his scores, the first to be published in Europe by a composer of African descent. Some historians suggest that Lusitano, unsurprisingly nicknamed ‘el pardo’ (Portuguese for ‘mulatto’) because of his skin colour, also worked in Rome as a tutor for the Lancastres, one of the many Portuguese patrician families perfectly integrated into Roman society and diplomacy. Reasons enough for us to rediscover a master who can be compared to the giants of papal Rome, like Palestrina, or other Portuguese musicians, such as Dom Pedro de Cristo and Rebelo, whose legacy was largely lost in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.