Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Ascendens Christus in altum

De Victoria write this gloriously festive motet for the feast of the Ascension. Its text is taken from the last Responsorium of the Second Nocturn of Matins for that day. He published it first in 1572 and it rapidly became one of his most popular motets being published no less than five times during his life. Twenty years after it was first published de Victoria used it as the basis for his setting of the Mass Missa Ascendens Christus in altum. It’s a bright happy festive piece of music characterised by ascending motifs and wonderfully happy alleluias that perfectly reflect the text. It’s set for five (SSATB) voices divided into two halves.  Enjoy :-).


Text & Translation: Ascendens Christus in altum

Ascendens Christus in altum, alleluia.
Captivam duxit captivitatem, alleluia.
Dedit dona hominibus. alleluia.

Christ ascending on high, alleluia.
Hath led captivity captive, alleluia.
He made this gift to men, alleluia.

Ascendit Deus in iubilatione,
et Dominus in voce tubae, alleluia.
Dedit dona hominibus, alleluia.

Final Responsory of the Second Nocturne of Matins, Ascension Day

God ascends amid jubilation,
and the Lord with the sound of the trumpet, alleluia.
He made this gift to men, alleluia.

2 thoughts on “Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Ascendens Christus in altum

  1. Our choir included this in our concerts this past Friday and Sunday (yesterday), along with Gabrielli’s Jubilate Deo, Stanford’s Coelos Ascendit Hodie, and other pieces. Our director, Warren Mack, called the concerts “Music to lift you up”, and were well received by the audiences and exhilarating to perform.

    Some of the greatest music ever written!!

    Cheers, Richard

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