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Vidi speciosam
SSATTB, 1572; published in 1575 by Alessandro Gardane
author of text
Responsory at Matins on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August); after Song of Songs

'Victoria: Missa Gaudeamus & other works' (CDA67748)
Victoria: Missa Gaudeamus & other works
'Victoria: Missa Vidi speciosam & other sacred music' (CDH55358)
Victoria: Missa Vidi speciosam & other sacred music
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55358  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Complete: Vidi speciosam – Quae est ista
Part 1: Vidi speciosam
Part 2: Quae est ista

Vidi speciosam
Vidi speciosam is one of those liturgical texts that derives from the Canticum Canticorum (the Song of Songs) with all its imagery of love turned to the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Indeed Vidi speciosam is a Responsory at Matins on the Feast of the Assumption (15th August). It is set by Victoria in two sections in the form AB–CB. Victoria’s motet is for six voices (SSATTB) in the mixolydian (G) mode, which is frequently straight G major in Victoria’s hands. The Virgin ascending into heaven is likened to the beautiful one rising like a dove over the rivers, like a lily of the valley or the rose in spring and so on. The perfumed language of the Hebrew love poems is taken over from the Latin Vulgate Bible into the Catholic liturgy and thence into music by the composer.

Victoria opens his motet with the three high voices followed by the three lower, and then he varies his vocal scoring with a wide variety of combinations mainly of three, four or six voices, often producing momentary double-choir effects. The frequent crossing of the tenor parts and especially of the two treble lines gives a bright shimmering quality to the music (Palestrina’s motet Assumpta est Maria has just the same vocal combination). Vidi speciosam appeared not only in the 1572 book but in 1576 (part 1 only), in 1583, 1585, 1589 (twice) and 1603. It was also copied into Cappella Sistina Codex 29.

from notes by Bruno Turner © 1984

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