Personalities | Tomás Luis de Victoria | Renaissance | Classical
(To-mas’ Loo-es’ da Vik-tôr’-ya) 1548–1611
After training as a choirboy at Avila Cathedral, Victoria spent his early adult life in Rome, principally at the Jesuit Collegio Germanico, as both pupil and teacher. He returned to Spain permanently in the 1580s, where he became the chaplain to Philip II’s sister, Maria; he remained there as organist after her death in 1603. The Counter-Reformation intensity of Victoria’s music encourages comparison with the paintings of his contemporary El Greco. Not as prolific as Palestrina or Lassus, Victoria published 20 Masses and a variety of smaller liturgical works. His Christmas motet O magnum mysterium (1572), on which he based a parody Mass, opens with a poignant setting of the solemn text ‘Oh Great Mystery’ and closes with a jubilant Alleluia.
Officium defunctorum, Westminster Cathedral Choir (dir) David Hill (Hyperion)
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