Seixas, Carlos


Seixas, Carlos

Overture in D Major (score and parts)



Carlos Seixas

Overture in D Major

(b. Coimbra, 11. June 1704 – d. Lisboa, 25. August 1742)

Preface (by Alexandra Burkot, 2016)

Jose Antonio Carlos Seixas was one of the most prolific composers of Portugal, according to 18th-century sources. If contemporaneous accounts are to be believed, Seixas wrote over seven hundred keyboard sonatas and toccatas, as well as numerous orchestral pieces and ecclesiastical choral works. Unfortunately, many of the authentic Seixas manuscripts, as well as other biographical information on the composer, were likely lost in the great 1755 Lisbon fire. Of his allegedly enormous body of work, only eighty-eight keyboard pieces, three orchestral overtures, and five choral works remain extant.

Though Seixas rarely if ever traveled, his exposure to the various musical forms of Europe is reflected in this overture. Taking his musical influences from France, Italy, Austria, Spain, and his own native Portugal, Seixas exemplifies eighteenth-century European cultural exchange. Composers, performers, and music enthusiasts alike traveled across Europe on the Grand Tour, journeying among cosmopolitan centers to experience musical, artistic, and cultural differences from country to country. Though the Grand Tour did not run through the Iberian Peninsula, the music of Seixas provided the Portuguese court with a taste of this journey for those who could not undertake it.

Born in 1704 in Coimbra, Portugal, to a musical father, the rich and abundant musical life surrounding the monastery of Santa Cruz had a great impact on the young Seixas. From an early age it was clear that he was a keyboard prodigy. Seixas succeeded his father as church organist at Coimbra Cathedral at the age of fourteen, only a few days before his father’s death. At the age of sixteen, in 1720, he moved to Lisbon to take up a new position in the court of John V of Portugal, as court organist and harpsichordist of the royal chapel, the Patriarchal Basilica. His elegance and agility on the keyboard made him a favorite teacher of many noble families, including the family of Luís Xavier Furtado de Mendonça, the Viscount of Barbacena. Seixas gave harpsichord lessons to the Viscount’s wife and daughters in exchange for artistic patronage. In Lisbon, Seixas met Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti, who was working in Portugal from 1719 to 1728 as appointed director of the court cathedral. In an account by José Mazza in his Diccionario biographico de Musicos portugueses e noticia das suas composições of 1780, the king’s brother, Dom António, arranged for Scarlatti to give Seixas harpsichord lessons. Scarlatti, immediately recognizing Seixas’ talent, replied, “You can give me lessons.” Seixas died of a rheumatic fever in 1742, and was buried in in the Santa Maria Basilica in Lisbon.

One of only three remaining orchestral pieces by Sexias is his Overture in D Major, translated from the Portuguese “Abertura em Re Major.” In seventeenth-century France, the overture took on a new standardized form in the ballets and operas by Jean-Baptiste Lully. The French overture had two portions, a slow, first section generally characterized by its dotted rhythms, followed by a lively movement, usually a fugue. By the turn of the eighteenth century, the French overture would slowly be replaced by the new Italian overture, a three-movement instrumental piece, popularized by Alessandro Scarlatti.


Read full preface / Komplettes Vorwort lesen > HERE

Score Data


Repertoire Explorer




225 x 320 mm




Set Score & Parts



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