Padre Tomás Luis de Victoria: ‘God’s Composer’

Having recently learned Victoria’s sublime O Magnum Mysterium to sing with the Brothers and Sisters at Midnight Mass, I just spent some Christmastide recreation time watching the BBC’s one-hour documentary on the composer. That video is embedded below, and is quite worth watching.

Get a little culcha’ this Christmas!

Victoria was a priest and by all accounts a devout one. He also enjoyed the patronage of his Monarch, Philip II. The priest-composer is quoted as saying, “Music is not man’s invention, but his heritage from the blessed spirits.” Listening to his music lends credence to the utterance.

It happens that the first piece of Victoria’s that I ever heard — when I was hardly able to appreciate it — was his much lauded Requiem. That turns out to be typically backwards of me, for the Officium Defunctorum was his very last composition, which is wonderfully poetic. Written for the funeral of the Empress Maria (Philip II’s sister), it was also performed at Victoria’s own funeral.

Regina Magazine has a short piece on him, and there is another brief article on him at the website of the University of Malaga.

Enjoy the video!