Filipe de Magalhães (c.15 -1652) is among the finest Portuguese composers of the first half of the 17th century. He studied at Évora Cathedral with Manuel Mendes (c.1547-1605), succeeding him in the post of mestre da claustra at Évora Cathedral. He then moved to Lisbon, where he became choirmaster at the Misericórdia and mestre de música in the Royal Chapel.
Magalhães is regarded as an accomplished composer, capable of both unparallel smoothness of polyphonic style and elegance in the drawing of vocal lines. This can be heard in his five-voice (SSATB) Missa O Soberana Luz, being its title a possible reference to D. João, Duke of Bragança (future King John IV). Its was included in Magalhães’s first and only Liber Missarum, published in Lisbon at Pedro Craesbeeck’s workshop in 1636.
Although the beginning of the tenor part in several movements is identical to that of the plainchant Missa Cum Jubilo, for the fest of the Virgin Mary, as the movements develop, a whole new kind of music material appears. More than a plainsong Mass, this work looks more like a parody Mass, since the opening line of the tenor is always presented with two descending lines. The music material is treated in various ways, sometimes contrasting, but they can be clearly heard in the openings of all movements. Another feature of this work is the continued contrast between livier and faster sections and sections with longer notes.