Tomás Luis de Victoria, the most famous sixteenth century Spanish composer, was born right in the middle of that century, in approximately 1548, at Sanchidrián, the seventh of nine children. He became a choirboy at Ávila Cathedral and attended school at St Giles, a boys' school in the same city, praised by musicians.
In 1565, he became cantor at the German College in Rome, and was influenced by (and possibly studied with) Palestrina. In 1571 he began teaching at the college, and from 1573 he also worked at the Pontifical Roman Seminary. In 1574 he was ordained as a priest, and the following year became Maestro di Capella at Sant' Apollinare.
In 1587 he returned to Spain, serving as chaplain to King Philip II's sister, Dowager Empress Maria. He worked in Madrid at the Descalzas Reales convent for twenty-four years, becoming convent organist after the death of the Empress. Victoria died on 20 August 1611 in the chaplain's residence at Descalzas Reales, leaving a wealth of music expressing the passion of Spanish mysticism and religion using simple lines and homophonic textures.
Ensemble. Rock-solid Technique - Victoria, Gesualdo, Schütz, J S Bach, Poulenc and Knut Nystedt from cellist Deirdre Bencsik and the Derwent Singers impresses Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Breathtaking Depth - Sacred music in seventeenth century Rome, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... performances of celestial beauty ...'
CD Spotlight. Truly Angelic - Passiontide music, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'An edifying programme in excellent sound and presentation ...'
Technique and Musicianship - Tony Westerman is impressed by the organ playing of Tom Corfield
CD Spotlight. Highly Recommended - Music for Advent intrigues Gerald Fenech. '... one of the discs of the year as far as choral music is concerned ...'
CD Spotlight. Highly Atmospheric - Roger Argente's Superbrass, heard by Paul Sarcich. '... one almost gets the smell of Renaissance Spain.'
Ensemble. Very Rewarding - The Derwent Singers, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. In Complete Command - Britten's 'The Company of Heaven' and Renaissance Polyphony, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Vividly Characterised - Mike Wheeler listens to the Sitwell Singers
CD Spotlight. Passionate Commitment - Victoria's 'Missa Gaudeaumus', welcomed by Robert Anderson. '... a joyous celebration ...'
Record Box. Magical and Sensitive - A recording by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain inspires Patric Standford
CD Spotlight. An Interesting Mix - Sacred treasures, enjoyed by Robert Hugill. '... certainly intoxicating.'