Very little music survives by Manuel Mendes, the renowned teacher of the three most famous Portuguese composers of the early seventeenth century – Duarte Lobo, Manuel Cardoso and Filipe de Magalhães. In his grand eight-voice setting of the antiphon Asperges me
the first part freely paraphrases the chant in all voices, but from ‘secundum magnam’ it appears as a cantus firmus in the top voice. (Although the doxology at the end of the Asperges me
was not usually included at this point in the liturgy on Palm Sunday, the manuscript, which specifies that Mendes’s work was to be used for this liturgical purpose, includes the full setting as it is sung here.) According to a somewhat ambiguous inscription this setting by Mendes incorporates contrapuntal lines added by Soares.
from notes by Bernadette Nelson © 1996