EOPLE ENJOYED the “O Magnum Mysterium” rehearsal videos, so I went ahead and created individual practice videos for the SATB “Ave Maria” attributed to Tomás Luis de Victoria:
These videos are intended to help amateur choirs learn. When you’re listening, please remember that I’m a tenor! (I do my very best with the other voice parts.)
FOR YEARS, WE HAVE BEEN TOLD that T. L. de Victoria (d. 1611) did not write this piece. Many believed that Karl Proske wrote it under a false name, publishing it in his 1854 collection. But consider these original manuscripts shared by my friend Nancho Alvarez. If Nancho reads this article, perhaps he can let me know the date of these manuscripts—they do not seem like something Proske would write. 1
I’m not so sure Victoria—toward the very end of his life—could not have written this piece. Here are six reasons why:
(1) The music is of a very high quality.
(2) The Tenor and Bass lines in measures 14-16 remind me of a section in Victoria’s “Domine non sum dignus.”
(3) The 3/4 section toward the end is reminiscent of pieces by Victoria and other composers of that time, such as Jacobus Handl-Gallus.
(4) The incipit at the beginning is certainly something Victoria would have done, and comes directly from the Gregorian version. In fact, if you carefully examine the Gregorian melody—such as the phrase “Sancta Maria”—you’ll see that many melodies are based on the plainsong. As a Roman Catholic priest, Victoria loved to use the plainsong melodies in his polyphonic compositions.
(5) The composer says “JESUS CHRISTUS” instead of “Jesus,” which reminds me of what was done to the Holy Name in Victoria’s “O Magnum Mysterium.”
(6) Victoria did not compose a 4-voice AVE MARIA, except for this one. Therefore, it fills a lacuna in his repertoire.
In addition, the use of chromaticism seems—in my humble opinion—to match what was being done circa 1605AD.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Part books had generally fallen out of fashion by the 19th century. The entire 1854 collection by Carl Proske—called “Musica Divina”—can be downloaded HERE.