Treasures of The Library of Orfeó Català



The richness of Spanish polyphony is also represented in editions that are rare (Tomás Luis de Victoria) or unique (Ensaladas of Matheo Flecha).


First book of masses of Tomás Luis de Victoria

Tomás Luis de Victoria. Liber primus qui missas, psalmos, magnificat ad Virginem Dei Matrem salutationes, aiaque complectitur. Venetiis: Angelum Garda[num], 157[6]. Printed Music, 139 f. (41 cm)


First book of masses of Tomás Luis de Victoria

Liber primus qui missas of Tomás Luis de Victoria

This first book of masses, the second work published by Tomás Luis de Victor (Ávila, c. 1548; Madrid, 1611), dates from the time when he was musicae moderator [Master of music] of the German College in Rome, which had taken him in as a boarder in 1565. Founded by Pope Julius III in 1552, the German College lodged boarding students from other countries who were completing their religious training. Victoria spent 17 years in Rome, succeeding Palestrina as maestro di cappella at the Roman Seminary in 1573, and returned to Spain as director of music at the Monastery of Santa Clara de las Descalzas Reales in Madrid, founded by Mary of Habsburg, the daughter of Charles V and widow of Maximilian II.

This book is dedicated to one of his patrons, Ernest of Bavaria, Bishop of Freiburg, son of Albert V of Bavaria and Anne of Austria. It contains two masses in four voices (Missa Ave maris stella on the hymn of the same name; Missa Simile est regnum, a parody mass on the motet by Guerrero), a mass in five voices (Missa De beata Maria) and two masses in six voices (Missa Dum complerentur based on the composer’s own motet; and the Missa Gaudeamus on the introit used by Morales in his motet Jubilate Deo omnis terra). The devotion to the virgin also influences the other works, for example the six Magnificat and the Marian antyphons (Regina caeli and two Salve Regina).

Most of Victoria's polyphonic works have been printed by the Italian publishers of Venice, Rome and Milan. There are only some ten copies of this rare edition, though often incomplete. In this edition, the voice parts are shown in choir book or lectern format, in accordance with publication customs of sacred music at the time. The copy of the Library of Orfeó Català is incomplet (missing fol. 140)".

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