Victoria was by far the most famous composer in sixteenth-century Spain, known as the ‘Spanish Palestrina’. His most prolific compositional period came after his move to Rome in 1565, where he may have studied with Palestrina; certainly he was influenced by the Italian, taking over his position at the Pontifical Roman Seminary around 1571 (having returned to Spain in 1587, he visited Rome in 1594 to attend Palestrina’s funeral). The four six-part latin motets contained in this edition date from Victoria’s productive early period in Rome, and were all part of his maiden publication, in Venice in 1572.

The music has an intimately reverent quality, heard in the long, awe-inspired contrapuntal lines of Congratulamini mihi (the Virgin Mary rejoices at having given birth to the son of God) and O Sacrum Convivium (a celebration of the blessed sacrament). Tu es Petrus (“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church”) and Surrexit Pastor Bonus (celebrating the resurrection) are more assertive texts, and Victoria’s energetic settings, with shorter phrases often alternating high and low voices, impart a genuine sense of joy.

Matthew Knight

Parts included:

  • Score
  • Trumpet in E-flat
  • Trumpet 1 in B-flat
  • Trumpet 2 in B-flat
  • Trombone 1
  • Trombone 2
  • Trombone 3 (Bass)
  • Tuba

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