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Tomás Luis de Victoria
(ca 1548 - 1611)

A music clear and lovely,
With healing in its wings...

A fragrance so pure and holy;
The angels begin to sing.

But lost it is in a world of woe,
where few can hear the chords...

Man cannot reclaim his wings,
'Til he puts away his sword.

Visit: Nancho Alvarez's Great Victoria Site


Ante quàm homines essent, in beatus illis mentibus esse inceperit... Cui enim rei potius seruire Musicam decet, quàm sacris laudibus immortalis Dei à quo numerus et mensura manauit?... In animos influens, non animis solum prodesse videtur, sed etiam corporibus... Quippe ea improbi quidam, ac prauis moribus imbuti homines abutuntur.
[Music is not man's invention, but his heritage from the blessed spirits... Music, because instinct with rhythm and harmony, describes the very being of God... Music can affect for good or ill the body as well as the mind... Nowadays, unfortunately, music does often serve depraved ends.]
                                                                       Tomás Luis de Victoria

The music created by this composer is believed, by those who really know it, to be among the most beautiful in the world today. Composed at the end of the 16th Century, and the beginning of the 17th Century, the music of Victoria was written for the church, to be sung as a part of the Catholic liturgy and all of the texts are in the Latin language, the official texts of the church...mostly scripture from the Vulgate Bible. Victoria, a priest, was unique in that he composed no secular music.

Victoria composed twenty masses, 44 motets, 36 hymns, 16 alternating plainsong magnificats (plus a magnificent work for two choirs and another for three), ten sublime Marian antiphons, 7 psalm settings for double choirs, 4 sequences, some pieces written to be included in the liturgy, and a body of music composed for Holy Week services. All of this music is sublime and deserves the highest honors as spiritual masterpieces by one of the greatest composers of the past 2,000 years.

But Victoria's music would be forgotten today, were it not for a few learned individuals who know the importance of these works and keep the flame alive, and a few brave CD labels, choirs and singing ensembles who have committed some of the works to disc and perform the music in public. Since the advent of the CD, one or two recordings a year are produced in Europe. However, many of Victoria's finest works yet still remain unrecorded, while the familiar compositions often get recorded over and over. Only about a half of Victoria's masses have seen the light of day in commercial recordings, either LP or CD, and few of the hymns and Marian motets are available. Additionally, perhaps Victoria's best known work, the four-part Ave Maria, is generally regarded by Victoria scholars to not have been composed by Victoria at all! This well-known Ave Maria, by which many people have judged Victoria, is found in a single late 17th Century manuscript in Munich only, and was not printed among the composer's output at all. It has no stylistic traits in common with Victoria's compositional style and should be attributed to "anonymous," not to Victoria.

DoveSong's Victoria Pages

-> Recordings of the Music of Tomás Luis de Victoria
We highly recommend that you take a look at our selection of 
recordings of Victoria's music produced on CD. Eventually, we will be adding LPs and 78s as well. 

-> Victoria: A New Complete Performing Edition, by Jon Dixon
An English gentleman, performing a scholarly labor of love, is creating a new edition of Victoria's works so that they may receive their deserved performances by choirs around the world.

MP3 Examples

-> Agnus Dei From Missa Quarti Toni
-> Magnificat in the First Mode
-> Magnificat for three Choirs 

Victoria on the Web

Nancho Alvarez's Great Victoria Site
Nancho, who lives in Spain, has performed one of the greatest of all favors for music. On his site, you will find the COMPLETE WORKS of  Victoria in Midi and PDF formats. I recommend that every serious lover of music spend a lot of time at this site. For the first time ever, the complete works of this master composer are available to be studied and listened to by anyone in the world.
UPDATE: Since I wrote the above, Nanco has continued to develop his site and it has now become a
model for the future of music education. Tomas Luis de Victoria comes alive on this site as Nancho Alvarez uses internet technology for the fulfillment of the purpose of true music education! If you are interested in the music of this great composer, you need go no further than this web site. If you want to see the future of music research, visit this site! Don Robertson  

Publications dealing with Victoria

Spanish Cathedral Music in the Golden Age
By Robert Stevenson
Univ. of California Press
Cambridge University press, 1961
This book contains the most scholarly writing about Victoria's life and works that has so far been accomplished and it is suggested that any serious devotee of Victoria's music try to find a copy of this rare book in a college music library.

Tomás Luis de Victoria: A Guide to Research
By Eugene Casjen Cramer
Garland Publishing, Inc, 1998
This is the book for the serious researcher into the music of Victoria. Here you will find a very detailed account of recordings, and manuscript copies of Victoria's music located the world over.

Studies in the Music of Tomas Luis De Victoria
By Eugene Casjen Cramer
This is the book for the serious researcher into the music of Victoria. 

The New Grove High Renaissance Masters
Section on Victoria by Robert Stevenson
W.W. Norton & Company, 1980
ISBN 0393300935 (paperback)
ISBN 0393016897 (hardback)
This will serve as a good introduction to Victoria's life and music, as well as the other great renaissance composers (Byrd, Palestrina, Josquin des Pres and Lassus.