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Tomás Luis de Victoria

Tomás Luis de Victoria

Tomás Luis de Victoria (sometimes Italianised as da Vittoria; c.1548 – 27 August 1611) was the most famous composer in 16th-century Spain, and was one of the most important composers of the Catholic priest. However, he preferred the life of a composer to that of a performer.[1] He is sometimes known as the "Spanish Palestrina" because he may have been taught by Palestrina.[2]


  • Life and career 1
  • Music 2
  • Recordings 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Life and career

Victoria was born in

  • Victoria's Spanish-English webpage (contains: facsimiles, biography, chronology, the opera omnia, scores, mp3s, apocryphal pieces, interpretation, books, editions, disks, texts, top-10, trivia, links, acknowledgements and other scores)
  • Free scores by Tomás Luis de Victoria at the International Music Score Library Project
  • Free scores by Tomás Luis de Victoria in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
  • The Mutopia Project has compositions by Tomás Luis de Victoria
  • Listen to a free recording of a songs from Umeå Akademiska Kör.
  • Conservatorio Profesional de Música Tomás Luis de Victoria de Ávila.
  • Motets O magnum mysterium and O vos omnes as interactive hypermedia at the BinAural Collaborative Hypertext
  • (The Choir of Somerville College, Oxford)O magnum mysteriumLive recording of the motet
  • by baritone X. Dupac with Coro Universitario Complutense MadridPopule meus
  • O Vos Omnes
  • Victoria – a 400th anniversary profile Biography, major works and recommended recordings, by Edward Breen for Gramophone
  • Maestros del Siglo de Oro, Morales, Guerrero, Victoria, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hespèrion XX, dir. Jordi Savall, Alia Vox AVSA9867
  • Tomás Luis de Victoria, at Cancioneros Musicales Españoles.

External links

  • G. Edward Bruner, DMA: "Editions and Analysis of Five Missa Beata Virgine Maria by the Spanish Composers: Morales, Guerreo, Victoria, Vivanco, and Esquivel." DMA diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.[facsimile: University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, MI, USA]
  • Gustave Reese, Music in the Renaissance. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1954. ISBN 0-393-09530-4
  • Kriewald, James Arthur. The Contrapuntal Practices of Victoria. The University of Wisconsin.
  • O'Regan, Noel. "Victoria, Soto and the Spanish Archconfraternity of the Resurrection in Rome." Early Music 22/2 (1994).
  • The Concise Edition of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th ed. Revised by Nicolas Slonimsky. New York, Schirmer Books, 1993. ISBN 0-02-872416-X
  • Stevenson, Robert M. "Tomas Luis de Victoria: Unique Spanish Genius." Inter-American Music Review 12/1 (1991).
  • Trend, J. B. The Music of Spanish History. New York: Kraus Reprint Corporation, 1965.
  • Wojcicka-Hruza, Lucy. "A Manuscript Source for Magnificats by Victoria." Early Music 25/1 (1997).


  1. ^ O'Regan, Noel. "Victoria, Soto and the Spanish Archconfraternity of the Resurrection in Rome." Early Music 22 no. 2 (1994): 279.
  2. ^ Slonimsky, Nicolas. The Concise Edition of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th ed. New York: Schirmer Books, 1994, p. 1073.
  3. ^ a b Wojcicka-Hruza, Lucy. "A Manuscript Source for Magnificats by Victoria." Early Music 25 no. 1 (1997): p 83.
  4. ^ Stevenson, Robert M. "Tomas Luis de Victoria: Unique Spanish Genius." Inter-American Music Review 12 no. 1 (1991): p. 1.
  5. ^ Stevenson, 6.
  6. ^ Stevenson, 8.
  7. ^ Stevenson, 10–11.
  8. ^ Trend, J. B. The Music of Spanish History. New York: Kraus Reprint Corporation, 1965, p 158.
  9. ^ Stevenson , 12–13.
  10. ^ a b c Slonimsky, 1073.
  11. ^ Stevenson, 19.
  12. ^ a b Trend, 158.
  13. ^ Stevenson, 25.
  14. ^ Stevenson, 12.
  15. ^ Stevenson, 24.
  16. ^ Stevenson, 26–27.
  17. ^ York: Schirmer Books, 1994, p. 1073.
  18. ^ Trend, 160.
  19. ^ Trend, 163.
  20. ^ Kriewald, James Arthur. The Contrapuntal Practices of Victoria. The University of Wisconsin, p. 2.
  21. ^ Trend, 164.
  22. ^ O'Regan, 283.
  23. ^ a b Stevenson, 13.
  24. ^ a b Stevenson, 21.
  25. ^ Trend, 157.
  26. ^ Tomás Luis de Victoria – a 400th anniversary profile, by Edward Breen, Gramophone online, March 2011


See also

Recorded live in 2003 by The Tudor Consort (1.8Mb)

Problems playing these files? See .

Recordings of music by Victoria are discussed in an article published in March 2011 by Gramophone[26]

  • Victoria, Sacred Works. Ensemble Plus Ultra: DGG Archiv CD DDD 0289 477 9747 0 AM 10
  • Victoria, Tenebrae Responsories. The Tallis Scholars: GIMELL. CDGIM 022
  • Victoria, Lamentations of Jeremiah. The Tallis Scholars: GIMELL. CDGIM 043
  • Victoria, Gesualdo, Palestrina, White, Lamentations. Nordic Voices: CHANDOS CHACONNE. CHAN 0763

The following are recordings of music by Tomás Luis de Victoria. As in all of his music, the texts are in Latin and drawn from the Roman Catholic Liturgy.


His most famous work, and his masterpiece, Officium Defunctorum, is a Requiem Mass for the Empress Maria.[10]

Stylistically, his music shuns the elaborate counterpoint of many of his contemporaries, preferring simple line and homophonic textures, yet seeking rhythmic variety and sometimes including intense and surprising contrasts. His melodic writing and use of dissonance is more free than that of Palestrina; occasionally he uses intervals which are prohibited in the strict application of 16th century counterpoint, such as ascending major sixths, or even occasional diminished fourths (for example, a melodic diminished fourth occurs in a passage representing grief in his motet Sancta Maria, succurre). Victoria sometimes uses dramatic word-painting, of a kind usually found only in madrigals. Some of his sacred music uses instruments (a practice which is not uncommon in Spanish sacred music of the 16th century), and he also wrote polychoral works for more than one spatially separated group of singers, in the style of the composers of the Venetian school who were working at St. Mark's in Venice.

Victoria claimed that he composed his most creative works under his patron Otto, Cardinal von Truchsess. However, Stevenson does not believe that he learned everything about music under Cardinal Truchsess's patronage; Victoria would like people to believe such a fact.[23] During the years that Victoria was devoted to Philip II, he expressed exhaustion from his compositional work. Most of the compositions that Victoria wrote that were dedicated to Cardinal Michele Bonelli, Philip II, or Pope Gregory XIII were not compensated properly.[24]

Two influences in Victoria's life were Giovanni Maria Nanino and Luca Marenzio, whom Victoria admired for their work in madrigals rather than church music.[25] It has been speculated that Victoria took lessons from Escobedo at an early age before moving to Rome.[12]

Victoria published his first book of motets in 1572.[23] In 1585 he wrote his Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae, a collection which included 37 pieces that are part of the Holy Week celebrations in the Catholic liturgy.[24]

Victoria was a master at overlapping and dividing choirs with multiple parts with a gradual decreasing of rhythmic distance throughout. Not only does Victoria incorporate intricate parts for the voices, but the organ is almost treated like a soloist in many of his choral pieces.[21] Victoria did not begin the development of psalm settings or antiphons for two choirs, but he continued and increased the popularity of such repertoire.[22] Victoria reissued works that had been published previously, and included new revisions in each new issue.[3]

Victoria is the most significant composer of the Counter-Reformation in Spain, and one of the best-regarded composers of sacred music in the late Renaissance, a genre to which he devoted himself exclusively. Victoria's music reflected his intricate personality,[18] and expressed the passion of Spanish mysticism and religion.[10] Victoria was praised by Padre Martini for his melodic phrases and his joyful inventions.[19] His works have undergone a revival in the 20th century, with numerous recent recordings. Many commentators hear in his music a mystical intensity and direct emotional appeal, qualities considered by some to be lacking in the arguably more rhythmically and harmonically placid music of Palestrina. There are quite a few differences in their compositional styles, such as treatment of melody and quarter-note dissonances.[20]


Even though Victoria is typically viewed as being the leading composer of the Roman School, the school was also heavily marked by other Spanish composers such as Morales, Guerrero, and Escobedo.[17]

Such was the esteem in which he was held that his contract allowed him frequent travel away from the convent. He was able to visit Rome in 1593 for two years, attending Palestrina's funeral in 1594. He died in 1611 in the chaplain's residence and was buried at the convent, although his tomb has yet to be identified. [16] In 1587 Philip II honoured his desire to return to his native Spain, naming him chaplain to his sister, the

, however. Italy He did not stay in [14] After receiving a grant from

[7] and other highly regarded people of music.St.Teresa of Avila Victoria most likely began studying "the classics" at St. Giles's, a boys' school in Ávila. This school was praised by [6]

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