While Tomás Luis de Victoria ranks as one of the greatest Spanish composers of all time, his renown in recent decades has often been eclipsed by his Renaissance contemporaries Palestrina and Lassus. Seizing the opportunity of this year’s Victoria centenary, Michael Noone and his Ensemble Plus Ultra shine the spotlight on this unique Spanish genius revealing him as the equal of any composer of the High Renaissance—a towering composer whose works glow with the passion and vibrant tonal palette of El Greco.
Ensemble Plus Ultra has newly recorded 93 works by Victoria to commemorate this anniversary, and Deutsche Grammophon & Archiv Produktion are proud to release this monumental 10-CD box set on September 27, 2011. Ensemble Plus Ultra’s thorough reassessment of these works confirms in sound what James Michener so perspicaciously observed in his classic travelogue Iberia:
“He [Victoria] was the equal of Palestrina…the richness of his construction and the dramatic manner in which he interweaves as many as six threads of sound, uniting them occasionally in majestic chords, form one of the joys of sixteenth-century music and I would suppose that for many who know music generally, the discovery of Victoria will be one of the few remaining delights … Victoria died in 1611, on August 27, a day held in reverence by mystics throughout the world as the anniversary of Santa Teresa's vision of being struck in the heart by a lance of fire held by an angel. He left Spanish music the equal of any being composed in Europe.”