Two late-Renaissance motets by myamphigory
February 23, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: music

Tomas Luis de Victoria’s O Magnum Mysterium

William Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus

Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), composer, was a Spanish contemporary of Palestrina and was one of the most important composers of the Counter-Reformation. The works of de Victoria are enjoying something of a renaissance presently, particularly the motet linked above. O Magnum Mysterium is a text usually sung in Advent derived from the Christmas Matins; another setting I’d recommend is Morten Lauridsen’s.

William Byrd (1540-1623), composer, was a major Engish composer of the late Renaissance. A student of Thomas Tallis, Byrd was born to Protestant parents but became increasingly attracted to Catholicism as an adult. This espousal of what was (at the time) a forbidden faith informed Byrd’s writing, and scholars now believe many of his pieces were “coded” works aimed at the English Catholic community. Byrd’s
Ave Verum Corpus is one of his most widely-performed and beautiful pieces. Ave Verum Corpus is a Eucharistic hymn typically sung during the consecration of the Host (or, during one wedding I attended, during the bride’s processional while I hoped that none of the attendees understood Latin).


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