Tomas Luis de Victoria – Renaissance Easter in Spain and Portugal

Cappella Romana performs the polyphonic motets of Tomás Luis de Victoria in the April concert series Renaissance Easter in Spain and Portugal. Read a little background on this influential Spanish Renaissance composer:

Owen Rees – guest conductor & author

“Victoria was the greatest Spanish composer of the Renaissance, and also one of the finest European composers of the time; his total output is, however, much smaller than those of, for example, Palestrina and Lassus. Victoria’s modern reputation long rested mainly on a handful of motets (such as O magnum mysterium, O quam gloriosum, O vos omnes, and Vere languores), on the Tenebrae responsories, and on the Officium defunctorum. Much less attention was paid, for example, to his polychoral works (including masses, psalms, antiphons, and sequences), some of which stand apart from the better-known pieces through such aspects as their greater rhythmic animation. Of Victoria’s 20 masses, 15 are parody works, most of them based on his own pieces, while the others draw on works by Morales, Guerrero, Palestrina, and Janequin. A notable characteristic of the masses published from 1592 onwards is their brevity (on which Victoria himself remarked regarding the 1592 collection). Likewise frequently concise, and with a highly concentrated expressivity of text-setting, are such works as the Lamentations and responsories for Holy Week. Victoria’s powers of text-expression when writing in a simple style are well demonstrated also by the Matins responsory Taedet animam meam from the Officium defunctorum, and the motet Versa est in luctum from the same publication shows an extraordinarily powerful use of chromatic and harmonic colouring. Harmonic sequence is sometimes prominent in Victoria’s writing, as in the eight-voice Salve regina. There are also abundant examples of word-painting in his motets, such as Cum beatus Ignatius, with its vivid imagery depicting the wild beasts tearing the martyr to pieces.”

Text taken from an article by guest-conductor Owen Rees in The Oxford Companion to Music! Read the full article at

Get your tickets today!

8pm, Friday, April 12, St. Mary’s Cathedral

8pm, Saturday, April 13, Holy Rosary Church – West Seattle

Free pre-performance talks one hour prior to each performance