Archiv Produktion, 2011

Michael Noone, Professor & Chairperson, Music Department

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) is frequently ranked not only as the greatest Spanish composer of all time, but also as one of the finest composers of the so-called High Renaissance. The New Oxford History of Music describes the composer in the following terms: "Combining the vocations of priest and musician, Victoria created an art of incomparable spirituality." For Paul Henry Lang, Victoria's Requiem (1605) is "one of the most magnificent compositions of the entire choral literature." This colossus of priest-composers was born in Ávila, the birthplace of St Teresa (1515-82); he was educated at the Colegio San Gil, a school founded by the Society of Jesus in 1554, the very same school, in fact, that St Teresa herself insisted her nephews attend. As a teenager, Victoria was sent to the Jesuit German College in Rome, thus becoming the first truly great composer to be associated with the Jesuits.

It is in Victoria's treatment of the Latin liturgical texts that he chose to set to music that we witness a compositional mind acutely aware of the possibilities of symbolic interpretation, multi-layered allusion, and textual exegesis. Far from simple text-expression, we are dealing here with compositional refinement of extraordinary sophistication.

This 10 CD compendium of Victoria's Sacred Music focuses on works from the period of Victoria's maturity, when he was composing in Madrid, together with a number of versions of his works that have never previously been recorded. The boxed set contains over 90 works and represents the culmination of a project that involved a total of 42 musicians from more than five countries who worked for a total of seventy days throughout a two year period to bring the project to a magnificent conclusion.

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