Saturday 20 November 2010

November - Month of the Holy Souls (3)

Once it had been found that polyphony was not inconsistent with the solemnity of the Requiem, polyphonic settings, and indeed, settings in the style of the age were to abound. Most famous for his Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae of 1585, certainly his work most frequently heard in Churches that are blessed to have the Holy Week Ceremonies in the Traditional Rite, Tomás Luis de Victoria was one of the standard-bearers of Counter-Reformation music, according to the mind of the Council of Trent.

His Officium Defunctorum of 1605, composed for the obsequies of the Empress Maria, who was his patroness through most of his composing career, is predominantly a setting of the Requiem Mass. He had composed another setting about twenty years earlier. His Requiem, like that of Mozart, was his last work. Oddly to the ear, the chant themes that are the basis of the setting are given to the higher registers of the six parts.

1 comment:

JTS said...

Really good series. I only just saw the previous series for November tonight. I think it is a really moving sign of our Catholic belief in Purgatory and the Communion of Saints. Maybe next year you could show a number of popular hymns in the vernacular.