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Sacred Music: God’s Composer (Tomás Luis de Victoria)
Presented by Simon Russell Beale
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 Victoria’s 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 Victoria’s 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 Victoria’s 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.
Bonus Features include:
Exclusive Interviews - members of The Sixteen discuss Victoria
Sacred Music Series One and An Easter Celebration DVD trailers
6 Bonus Audio Tracks taken from a selection of The Sixteen’s celebrated Victoria CDs Related Recordings by The Sixteen
Artist Biographies and Images
Region: NTSC Region 0 - Plays in all territories
Subtitles: English & Spanish
“With the help of a brisk factual narration by the actor Simon Russell Beale, quite a lot of ground is covered...The whole is punctuated with pleasing partial performances of ten works nicely recorded...If you have already decided that you like choral music then this will give you pleasure, but it is a celebration of tastes already acquired rather than a passionate advocate for new experience.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2012 ****
“Forget the unctuous title: this documentary...strikes the right balance between words, images, and music...we hear entire motets; and quite often, when the music starts, the presenter, the engaging Simon Russell Beale, steps aside...The performances are very successful...Harry Christophers and his singers are heard at their not inconsiderable best” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012
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Victoria: Missa Ave Maris Stella
“This is likely to become one of your most cherished discs. It's notable for its spacious depth of sound, volatile unpredictability of interpretation, and above all the soaring sostenuto of the boy trebles, with their forward and slightly nasal tone quality.
With their magnificently controlled legato lines, the Westminster boys treat Victoria's music as though it were some vast plainchant, with a passion that excites and uplifts. The choir is recorded in the exceptionally resonant Westminster Cathedral, at a distance and with great atmosphere.
Ave maris stella isn't one of Victoria's familiar Masses, quite simply because no music publisher has made it available to choirs in a good, cheap edition. To have it rescued from obscurity is laudable in itself, but to have it sung with such poise and sensitivity is an unexpected double treat.
Unlike O quam gloriosum, this is a work that thrills with echoes of Victoria's Spanish upbringing, of Morales and his predecessors, even of Josquin Desprez, whose own Ave maris stella Mass was brought to the cathedrals of the Iberian peninsula earlier in the century. The plainchant melody, familiar through Monteverdi's setting in the 1610 Vespers, completely dominates Victoria's music, for it's placed most often in huge treble lines that wheel high above the general texture. Magnificent as the early parts of the work are, nothing quite matches the final five-part Agnus Dei, sung here with admirable support and exquisitely shaped by David Hill. Recommended without reservation.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Pilgrimage to Santiago
recorded: All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London - May 2005
“Unaccompanied, the Monteverdi Choir goes back to its roots in a programme which harnesses scholarship and singing of breathtaking beauty.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2008
“This is a staggeringly sung disc of some staggeringly beautiful music … an act of rapt devotion, be it religious or simply musical” Sunday Times
“This is an anthology that has been compiled with scrupulous care. It’s beautifully varied and exquisitely sung” The Guardian
BBC Music Magazine
Choral & Song Choice - December 2006
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“Oxford Camerata's young mixed-voice singers.... have spirit, attack and a measure of sensitivity.” BBC Music Magazine
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Victoria: Sacred Works
Ensemble Plus Ultra, Michael Noone
Universal Spain have, over recent years, been releasing new recordings of works by the Spanish Renaissance composer Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611), who stands alongside Palestrina and Lassus as one of the greatest composers of his age.
The recordings were made by highly-regarded British Early Music group Ensemble Plus Ultra under Michael Noone (“a crack squad” –Early Music Today), who won critical acclaim for CDs of Morales and other Spanish composers on the Glossa label (“breathtakingly beautiful” – BBC Radio 3, CD Review).
Altogether, 10 CDs of Victoria’s works have been released (the final two as recently as May 2011). Now we have seized the opportunity, in the year when we commemorate the 400th anniversary of Victoria’s death (27 August), to bring all of these recordings together in a single box that forms a remarkable wide-ranging compendium of works mainly from the Madrid period of his life (1586–1611).
It is undoubtedly the largest collection available of Victoria’s music, with over 90 works on the 10 CDs, including three masses and six Magnificats never previously recorded – as well as many of the favourite motets and masses of the Victoria canon.
These recordings have never before been available outside Spain.
“The 11 hours of music on offer represent both a sizeable portion and a representative sample of Victoria's output....the Missa Ave Maris Stella boasts a particularly fine reading - lucid and sure-footed, with none of the parts having to stray outside their registral comfort zones. Slightly later is the famous setting of O quam gloriousum, one of the clearerer instances of Noone's attempt to blow some cobwebs off the ethereal vision of the composer.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2011
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