The music of Tomás Luis de Victoria renaissance man, composer, friend of St. Teresa of Avila, priest, epitomises the Spanish counter-reformation. His music is passionate and intensely Catholic and while he was by no means as prolific as Palestrina or de Lassus the volume of his output is not to be sneered at. That we know of he composed:
Twenty masses, forty four motets, thirty six hymns, sixteen alternating plainsong magnificats together with one for two choirs and another for three, ten Marian antiphons, seven psalm settings for double choir, four sequences, liturgical music, and of course the superb music for Holy Week . Of these his reputation today is based mostky upon his 1605 Officium defunctorum (Office for the Dead), the music for Holy Week – the 1585 Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae, and a relative handful of other works including Vere languores nostros, Cum beatus Ignatius, O Vos Omnes and Super Flumina Babylonis now all of these are are very beautiful, all of them have been recorded repeatedly, and all of them are well worth discovering.
The problem is that to concentrate just upon these works is to ignore a central reality of Victoria’s life and that is his very sincere and very eloquently expressed devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. During this series ‘Introducing The Marian Music of Tomás Luis de Victoria‘ I’ll be exploring and discussing some of Victoria’s music devoted to The Virgin in the hope that not only will you enjoy the music but that it will encourage you to explore this brilliant composer’s works further. To whet your appetite I’ve included his five-part setting of the Salve Regina performed by the Choir of Westminster Cathedral conducted by Martin Baker below. Enjoy :-).
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|Latin||Modern English Translation||Tradition English Translation|
|Salve regina, mater misericordiae,||Hail, O queen, mother of mercy,||Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,|
|vita, dulcedo et spes nostra salve.||our life, sweetness and hope, hail.||our life, our sweetness and our hope.|
|Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae,||To thee do we sigh, daughter of Eve,||To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;|
|ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes||mourning and weeping||to thee do we send up our sighs,|
|in hac lacrimarum valle.||in this vale of tears.||mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.|
|Eia ergo advocata nostra||O you our advocate,||Turn then, most gracious advocate,|
|illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.||turn on us thy merciful eyes.||thine eyes of mercy toward us;|
|Et Iesum benedictum fructum ventris tui||And after this our exile show unto us Jesus,||And after this our exile, show unto us|
|nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.||the blessed fruit of thy womb.||the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.|
|O clemens, o pia, o dulcis virgo Maria.||O merciful, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.||O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.|