Tomás Luis de Victoria was the greatest composer of the Spanish sixteenth-century ‘golden age’ of polyphonic music. This recording is of the six-voice Missa Dum complerentur, the five-part motet on which the Mass is based, and six further hymns and sequences including the great Popule meus, a setting of the Improperia (Reproaches) which form the heart of the liturgy for Good Friday. This is music of compelling beauty, which illustrates well Victoria’s extraordinary capacity to create through simple homophony extremely moving music of great expressiveness.
"As our awards enter their fourth decade, we've paused and looked back over the first 30 years. It's gratifying to see how many of the recordings singled out for the prestigious Record of the Year have gone on to become classics of the catalogue. (…) Then there are the discs that shaped careers - violinists Nigel Kennedy (in Elgar) and Maxim Vengerov (in Prokofiev and Shostakovich) - to which you might add The Tallis Scholars' stunning disc of Masses by Josquin Desprez, a disc that elevated Early Music to the "mainstream". ~Grammophone
The second son of Martín García de Anchieta and Urtayzaga de Loyola, who was a great-aunt of the future saint, Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, members of a leading family in the Basque country, Juan de Anchieta was born in 1462 near Azpeitia in Guipúzcoa in the Iraurgui valley. Although there is no information about his formative years, it is possible that he served as a chorister in the chapel of Henry IV of Castile and perhaps studied at Salamanca University, where Diego de Fermoselle, an elder brother of Juan del Encina, taught. In 1489 he was appointed as a singer in the Court Chapel of Queen Isabella the Catholic, with a salary of 20,000 maravedís, increased in 1493 to 30,000 maravedís. In 1495 he was appointed maestro di capilla to the Prince Don Juan. After the death of the Prince in 1497 he returned to the service of the Queen, to be ……
To mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of Tallis, here are his biggest and best church compositions, performed in its customary high style by the Oxford Camerata under Jeremy Summerly (whose Fauré Requiem remains one of Naxos's all-time bestsellers). Tallis's youthful motet Salve intemerata is among the longest single-movement works of the 16th century, but it is Spem in alium, a work of Tallis's maturity, that overshadows any other English piece of the period, including those of his great contemporary, William Byrd. Scored for 40 independent voices, it is symphonic in proportion and resplendent in this surround-sound version.