The reception of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Portugal (1931): context and content of the music criticism

Calado, M. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


June 15, 1931, J. S. Bach’s oratorio St. Matthew Passion is performed by the first time in Portugal. The concert was organized by Ivo Cruz and the group Renascimento Musical and it was part of a series of concerts devoted to the discovery of works of the History of Music, such as Monteverdi’s Orfeo (first performed in Lisbon in 1932), Mozart’s Requiem (in 1933), Berlioz’s Requiem (1936), and Haydn’s The Seasons (1942), among others. In the days following the presentation of the oratorio, several newspapers and magazines published reviews about the concert – about the music that had been heard and the musicians that performed it, and about the arrangements made to the work. In this paper I will compare some of those reviews and analyse their discourses, according to the types of analysis of music criticism proposed by Guertin (2013) and Alessandri (2015).
The first half of the twentieth century was an intense period for the music criticism in Portugal. Somehow, it was potentiated by the transformations of the musical life in the country and the development of the press industry. Many newspapers received the collaboration of one or more authors that wrote regularly about music and the concerts they attended to. In general, these authors were active members of the musical life, they were composers or music professors. Some others exercised different activities, were writers or journalists, for instance, and had a lower musical knowledge. Taking the reception of St. Mathew Passion as an example, I also intend to observe and describe some of the characteristics of the contexts and the discourses of the music criticism practiced in Portugal in the 1930’s.
Period17 May 2019
Event titleII Jornadas NEMI - A imprensa periódica como fonte para a Musicologia / II NEMI Meeting - The periodical press as a source in Musicology: null
Event typeConference
LocationLisboa, Portugal
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Music criticism
  • Periodical press in Portugal
  • Music criticism analysis
  • Crítica musical
  • Imprensa periódica portuguesa
  • Análise de crítica musical
  • Reception studies
  • Estudos de recepção