The Sacred Music journey continues with this special celebration marking the 400th anniversary of the death of the Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria. One of the greatest choral composer of the Renaissance, Victoria devoted his life to the church and his music is profoundly spiritual. Interwoven with Victorias music, this documentary follows Simon Russell Beale as he takes us through the life and times of Victoria. Harry Christophers and his award-winning ensemble, The Sixteen, perform Victorias music in the glorious setting of the Church of San Antonio de los Alemanes in Madrid, founded in 1606 by Philip III in Victoria's lifetime.
Born in 1548, Tomás Luis de Victoria was fortunate to live at the height of the Counter-Reformation, at a time of great vitality in the Roman Church. Music and musicians played a prominent role in encouraging religious regeneration, so there were many opportunities for a musician of Victorias talent. Victoria devoted his life to the service of God and the music performed in this programme opens a window onto the world of this intensely spiritual man scholar, mystic, priest, singer, organist and composer - six persons all rolled into one. This is an opportunity to celebrate his life and his creations, some of the most glorious work of the late Renaissance and the Spanish Golden Age.
With Simon Russell Beale as presenter, this account of the music of the great Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria works a treat. The performances are in a Madrid church (founded in Victoria's lifetime), and the vocal lines and muscular harmonies resonate splendidly. DVD OF THE WEEK --Independent,30/03/12
Since the start of the early music revolution about 50 years ago, Palestrina and Byrd have dominated our view of the Renaissance, and it s only recently that Victoria, their Spanish counterpart, has achieved due prominence. If he has not yet prised open a path to your imagination, this VD will help him do so. If you are already aware of his expressive power, Beale's life and works narration will fill in many of the whys and wherefores, aided by a practical commentary from Christophers and the impressively learned members of his choir. We are taken to the town north of Madrid where the composer imbibed his earliest musical experiences, to cathedrals where his oeuvre still forms the repertoire, to the monastery where printed scores, with his own hand-written corrections, are preserved. Originally a BBC documentary, the 60-minute film underlines not just the importance of St Teresa of Avila in shaping the mystical nature of Victoria's music, but also his aesthetic links with another contemporary, El Greco, whose paintings share the composer's intense spiritual aspiration and delight in the physical world . This aspect may surprise those who see in Victoria only a Rome-educated priest whose output was exclusively sacred. Proof of his earthiness comes in the motet Vidi speciosam, the closest he got to opera: he was as much a word-painter as a composer of sustained, interwoven lines which, the film makes clear, are extremely challenging to sing. It ends with Victoria s last and finest work the Requiem he wrote for the dowager Empress Maria, his erstwhile patron. More than a monument to the Catholic revival of Victoria's time, it resonates just as powerfully today. ***** --Financial Times,05/04/12
The performances are very successful. --Gramophone, Jul'12
As one miraculous choral masterwork follows another, one can only sit amazed at such fertility of imagination and deep feeling. Such is the music's emotional power and intensity that one quite forgets one is listening to manuscripts from over 400 years ago. --IRR, Oct'12