Tomás Luis da Victoria (1548-1611)

The majority of Victoria’s sacred motets come from his first published collection, which came out in 1572 when he was working at the Collegio Germanico in Rome. Victoria wrote at a time when composers were, to a certain extent, limited by the Council of Trent (1545–1563), requiring that words should be audible and that composers should avoid secular models. The clarity and dignity with which the exponents of this style articulated the text gave rise to new models, whose master was Palestrina. Victoria’s style is indebted to Palestrina, but he is very much his own man. There is something about the way Victoria lays out his parts, often spacing them out, which marks out his own distinctive sonic world.

Beati immaculati, a setting of Psalm 119: 1-2, is uniquely scored for two treble voices of equal range, plus tenor and bass. The trebles and bass are in relatively strict counterpoint throughout, while the tenor is simply connective harmonic tissue with little to no imitation.

©Ryan Turner

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