Victoria: Missa Gaudeamus; Missa pro Victoria; motets

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Victoria
LABELS: ASV Gaudeamus
WORKS: Missa Gaudeamus; Missa pro Victoria; motets
PERFORMER: The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood
CATALOGUE NO: CD GAU 198
Arguably the leading composer of Spanish Renaissance music, Tomás Luis da Victoria (1548-1611) wrote exclusively sacred works. Beside church appointments as a singer and organist, Victoria trained as a priest and was ordained in 1575. The special popularity of his Tenebrae Responsories and Missa pro defunctis – both distinguished by potent imagery and a strong Spanish flavour – has developed a limited view of Victoria’s musical character. With this disc, however, Andrew Carwood and The Cardinall’s Musick present a fuller portrait of the composer that reveals his impressive stylistic diversity.

Advertisement

They sing the sustained sonorous textures of the Missa Gaudeamus with suitably rich chording in a full-blooded performance, unfolding the satisfyingly smooth lines and textual details with exquisite finesse. Highlights include magnificent harmonic effects at ‘Et incarnatus’ in the Credo, the exultant conclusion to the Sanctus and the touching intensity of the Agnus Dei. By contrast, the Cardinalls’ exuberant account of the abounding triple rhythms and leaping melodic motifs that distinguish the Missa pro Victoria offers a glowing picture of the composer’s sunny disposition.

Advertisement

A selection of motets – including a vividly descriptive rendering of ‘Cum beatus Ignatius’ and brilliantly luminescent version of ‘Tu es Petrus’ – demonstrates Victoria’s complete mastery of liturgical miniatures. Nicholas Rast