O Quam Gloriosum, by Spanish Renaissance composer Victoria, was published
in 1572. It is a brief expression of the composer’s talent for drama—albeit
pure and appropriately restrained--in the setting of a text for use
on All Saints Sunday. His exquisite motets are generally short, stark,
largely homophonic works that reveal the influence of Palestrina, with
whom he studied. The material for this motet was recast as a parody
mass of the same title.
The opening chord progression depicts the joyful mystery of transfiguration into the afterlife. A rather literal and vivid use of text painting is employed on the word sequuntur (“to follow”), as the vocal entries imitate each other in succession, like lambs. The comforting imitation continues as the Saints are lead to their eternal home.
© Ryan Turner