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Downtown Rio de Janeiro seen from Santa Tereza hill
(To obtain a description of some places move the mouse over the figure)
Downtown Rio de Janeiro seen from Santa Tereza hill.
At bottom, Castelo hill, at the center the Public Garden and at right the church of Our Lady of the Grotto 1


On January 5, 1791 he requested to the judge de genere the opening of the process for qualification to the Synodal exams 2, The purpose of the de genere process was to gather information about the petitioner and the ancestors, about: whether had they been baptized or not; whether had they been imputed some "vile penalty" or charge of heresy or not; and do they live by the moral precepts and religion. The inspections were carried out in Minas Gerais, in São Gonçalo do Monte and Mariana, seat of the bishopric, with respect to the maternal grandparents and his mother; and in Rio de Janeiro, in the parish of the Cathedral, where Nunes Garcia was baptized; in the parish of Our Lady of the Perpetual Help, on Governor's Island, where Apolinario, the father, was baptized; and in the Church of the Presentation, parish of Irajá, where the paternal grandmother was baptized.

The answer to the de genere inquiry in Minas Gerais was signed by the vicar Manuel José de Oliveira, of the church of Our Lady of Nazareth, Mother church of Cachoeira do Campo, dated March 17, 1791 and attached to the process in April 4 3. It confirmed the baptism of the petitioner's mother and that of his maternal grandmother. Attached to the process were the testimonies of eight local residents, who had known mother and daughter, which nothing discreditable. The inquiries in Rio de Janeiro had zero responses, both in the parish of Our Lady of the Perpetual Help as in Irajá. More weight had the testimonies in favor of the petitioner, provided by a customs officer, two priests, a goldsmith, a porter of the royal treasury, and two musicians - former professor Salvador José de Almeida e Faria and the student Bonifácio Gonçalves. According to them, Apolinário and Vitória "had been always good Catholics, living with much decency"; Apolinário "lived with good credit of tailoring", and about Jose Mauricio, "he always showed great religiousness, even in boyish age" 4.

The next requirement to be accepted in orders, according to the current ecclesiastical constitution, was to be free of any "color defect." Nunes Garcia pleaded the remission of the "defect" in a petition to the bishop, arguing to qualify it as "irregularity" 5. The judgment signed by the Dean of the Cathedral, dated June 14, 1791, had a favorable decision. He found between the lines of the precepts of the church, a way to grant the request, which highlights the positive judgment already formed by the ecclesiastical authorities about the petitioner 6. The case files were delivered to him on June 29, 1791.

The tests would be made in the "Theological Seminary", in three stages, from September 7, 1791, when he signed up for the first one. On December 17, as subdeacon, he signed up for the second stage. And on March 3, 1792, overcome the last stage, he was "promoted to orders". His first Mass was celebrated in the Palace of the Immaculate Conception, the bishop's residence 7.

Interior of St. Peter Church
The interior of the Church of Saint Peter,
site of the brotherhood of St. Peter of the Clerics. 8

There was one last obstacle to take orders: to have any property asset. This obstacle was overcome with the help of merchant Tomás Gonçalves, father of his pupil Bonifácio, who donated him a house at Rua das Bellas Noutes, currently Rua das Marrecas, downtown Rio de Janeiro.

In 1791, due to studies, he composed only one work: the "Te Deum" for the "safe arrival" of the Viceroy Don Luis de Vasconcelos to Portugal; this composition is lost; there is only the record in the Lisbon Gazette on May 10, 1791, the first published news about the composer overseas.

Ordination made him trustworthy enough for families in society allow him teach music to their young ladies at home. Since he had no money to buy a piano or harpsichord, he practiced wherever there was one during the lessons.

On September 7, 1791, the same day he signed up for the first stage of the tests, he joined the Brotherhood of St. Peter of the Clerics 9, on condition in minoribus cleric (seminarist). He joined the chapel master, who has been a member of the brotherhood since 1755, and has occupied important positions in the board table 10. Soon after, he was promoted to the condition of in maioribus cleric, when he was offered the subdiaconate. In 1797, he was elected "table brother" (secretary), a function he occasionally occupied since 1794.

In 1795, he was appointed public music teacher, and installed a free music course at home. There the only instrument available for teaching was a wire guitar, used in sequence by all the students. Great musicians and singers who would enrich the musical activity of Rio de Janeiro in the nineteenth century, among them Francisco Manuel da Silva, Cândido Inácio da Silva and Francisco Pinto da Luz, there took the first lessons.

The post-ordination period was of great productivity. Of 1793 are known three graduals: "Dies Sanctificatus" (CPM 130); "Oculi Omnium" (CPM 131); and "Tecum Principium" (CPM 132). Of 1794 the "Gradual of Saint Ana" (CPM 133) and the "Psalms for the Vespers of the Sorrows of Our Lady" (CPM 177). In 1795 he composed four more graduals: "Alleluia, Alleluia" (CPM 134); "Alleluia Specie Tua" (CPM 135), "Constitues eos principes" (CPM 136), and "Virgo Dei Genitrix" (CPM 137), and the antiphon "Sub tuum præsidium" (CPM 2). In 1797, a "Magnificat" (CPM 16), for voices and organ; the "Vespers of Our Lady" (CPM 178), and the first Mass, the "Pontifical Mass of the See", lost.

In 1798 he composed two "Miserere" for Holy Week: one "for Maundy Thursday [Good Wednesday]" (CPM 195), and another "for Holy Friday [Maundy Thursday]" (CPM 194); antiphon "Ecce sacerdos" (CPM 3), a "Magnificat for 4 voices and organ" (CPM 17), the "Litany of the da Novena of the Immaculate Conception" (CPM 46) and the "Novena of the Immaculate Conception" (CPM 64). This year he would have written also a "Mass for the Advent" (CT 213?).

The inventory of Salvador José de Almeida e Faria, who died in 1799, evidences that the late teacher had copies of several other works of his pupil, with tagged prices: "Creed" (0$200); "Domine adjuvandum" (0$400); "Domine for the Prince of Santa Cruz" (0$200); "Invitatory" (0$800); a "Small Mass" (0$400); a "Funeral Office" (1$600); "Five quartets (five) and a trio" (0$600); psalms "Dixit" (0$600), "Magnificat" (0$100) and a psalm of Jeremiah "Dixit" (0$600); "Te Deum" (2$560); "Te Deum" alterned, for 4 voices (0$600); eleven trios "de Nascé"(?) (1$100) 11.

Payments to João Lopes Ferreira, 1794

Record of payments made to subchantre João Lopes Ferreira, October-December 1794. 4

1 STEINMANN, João [Johann]. Souvenirs de Rio de Janeiro [Souvenirs of Rio de Janeiro]. Rio de Janeiro: Villa Rica, 1990. pl. 6.

2 "Says José Maurício Nunes Garcia, born and baptized in the Cathedral of this city, natural son of Apolinário Nunes Garcia, a free brown man, born and baptized in the parish of Our Lady of the Perpetual Help, Governor´s Island; and his wife Vitória Maria da Cruz, a free brown woman, baptized in the Chapel of São Gonçalo do Monte, a subsidiary of the parish of Our Lady of Nazareth, bishopric of Mariana, that he has the supreme desire to follow the ecclesiastical life, and for this purpose has been applied to the Art of Music, Latin Language and Rhetoric, with the intent to serve God in this state: and because to get it is necessary to make his habilitation de genere - and hopes to be admitted by your Excellency Reverend". MATTOS, Cleofe Person de. José Maurício Nunes Garcia - Biografia [Biography]. Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Fundação Biblioteca Nacional, 1997, p. 39. The transcription of the de genere process made by Cleofe Person de Mattos is online in Acervo Cleofe Person de Mattos [The Cleofe Person de Mattos' Files], document 05-01-01b. Acess: Feb. 17, 2015.

3 "Reviewing the book of those baptized in this parish [...] I found a Joana Mina, slave of Simão Gonçalves; one Vitória, Joana's daughter, slave of Barbosa Gonçalves [...] the daughter was baptized in the mentioned Chapel of São Gonçalo do Monte, branch of this Parish [...] this is what I can certify. Cachoeira, March the seventeenth, 1791". MATTOS, op. cit., 1997. p. 19.

4 MATTOS, op. cit., 1997. pp. 39, 40.

5 "Says José Maurício Nunes Garcia, born and baptized in the Cathedral of this city, natural son of Apolinário Nunes Garcia and Vitória Maria da Cruz, free browns, he wants to be released from the color defect and deserving of Your Excellency remission wants to justify the following items: that he is [...] legitimate child of both parents declared above, free browns, children of black parents, who gave a proper education to the petitioner. / He will prove that [...] since childhood he had a vocation to the priestly state, and to achieve this his best efforts had been applied to the studies of Grammar, Rhetoric and rational and moral Philosophy, and to the art of Music. It will be proved that the petitioner has lived regularly in his manners without any note, and expects to be so until the end of his life [...] to be God-fearing and law-abiding. It will be proved that the petitioner does deserve this grace just because he is not involved in any irregularities than that of the color defect [...] say suspension and excommunication, so that he expects, due to the benign mercy of your Excellency, this great charity with which he will be able to climb other steps". MATTOS, op. cit., 1997. p. 41.

6 "In light of the pleading of the petitioner [...] as he has been living with much Christianity and [...] is well educated and felt his vocation since the early years, to the Ecclesiastical State and having been so much applied to the Latinity, Rhetoric and Philosophy studies, that for all these good qualities he will be very useful to the Church. As though according to the Constitution of Bahia, which was adopted in this Bishopric, black descendants are not admitted, so needs the petitioner waiver to enable up to that State [...] because in the alleged Canon Law neophytes are repelled [...] and as the petitioner is not a novice or child of one, although their parents descended from them, he can not be included in this prohibition [...] and can not the Constitution of Bahia, which in this Bishopric is not perceptive, is only policy, be an obstacle for him [...]. Rio, July 14, 1791, Francisco Gomes Villas Boas". MATTOS, op. cit., 1997. p. 43.

7 MACEDO, Joaquim Manuel de. Um Passeio pela Cidade do Rio de Janeiro [A City Tour of Rio de Janeiro]. Rio de Janeiro: Garnier, 1991. p. 136.

8 "At seven [days] of the month of September, one thousand, seven hundred ninety-one in this city of Rio de Janeiro, being provider of the Venerable Brotherhood of St. Peter Reverend Vicar Joaquim Nunes Cabral, admitted to brother José Maurício Nunes Garcia, who promised to keep the laws of the Brotherhood, and watch his commitment; and he paid for his entry two thousand eight hundred reis, what is in this term, which I signed. And I João de Figueiredo Chaves Coimbra Canon in this Holy Cathedral, and current Secretary of the Brotherhood wrote and signed. José Maurício Nunes Garcia. The Canon João de Figueiredo Chaves Coimbra". 2º Livro dos Termos dos Irmãos de São Pedro (1755-1798) fl. 120v". DINIZ, Jaime. The Presence of José Maurício in the Brotherhood of Saint Peter. In MURICY, José Cândido de Andrade et alii. Estudos Mauricianos. Rio de Janeiro: INM/FUNARTE/PRÓ-MEMUS, 1983. p. 43.

9 João Lopes Ferreira had been 1st director (1782-3), secretary (1783) and provider (1784-5) in the presiding board of the Brotherhood of St. Peter. As recorded above, he earned as subchantre of the Cathedral the modest amount of 180$000 per year, or 45$000 per quarter, plus bonuses. He increased his income with commissions of music for the feasts of the Brotherhood of St. Peter, as shown in the receipts in Book 3 of Revenue and Expenditure (1793-1820):
1796- With the feast of the Saint Patriarch / To Father Master João Lopes Ferreira for the Music 48$000
1797- With the feast of the Saint Patriarch to Father Master João Lopes Ferreira for the Music 48$000
1798- so paid for the music to Father Master João Lopes Ferreira, by his attorney Joaquim Antônio 48$000
He possibly had the help of his pupil in these compositions. Nunes Garcia was also his successor in this task. DINIZ. op. cit., 1983. p. 46.

11 CAVALCANTI, Nireu. O Rio de Janeiro Setecentista: a Vida e a Construção da Cidade da Invasão Francesa até a Chegada da Corte [Rio de Janeiro in Eighteenth Century: the Life and the Construction of the City from the French Invasion to the Court Arrival]. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar Editor, 2004. p. 416.

12 Acervo Musical do Cabido Metropolitano do Rio de Janeiro [Music Files of Rio de Janeiro's Metropolitan Chapter], document CRI-SD109. Acess: Oct. 30, 2014.

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