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Missa Ave maris stella
Victoria’s Mass on the Marian plainsong Hymn Ave maris stella is in G minor (transposed Dorian) and is contrapuntally elaborate. The minor key gives the music that ‘soulfulness’ with which Victoria is so associated, though this is only one aspect of the composer’s otherwise cheerful disposition. The Missa Ave maria stella has two Agnus Dei movements, the second of which has divided tenors. It also has two ‘Hosanna’ settings, the one after the Sanctus being unusual for Victoria in using the full words of the first verse of Ave maria stella in the tenor part to a version of the plainsong tune.

Victoria thus triumphantly asserts the basis of his Mass. This lovely work was first published in 1576 and then reprinted in the 1583 book which also contained the Missa O quam gloriosum.

from notes by Bruno Turner © 1984

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