Pange lingua gloriosi
is a Corpus Christi hymn written by St Thomas Aquinas who died in 1274. In the Liber Usualis
it is prescribed as a processional hymn at Mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi and it appears in the English Hymnal
as a communion hymn. Victoria’s four-part alternatim setting, also part of the 1581 collection, makes use of all six verses of the hymn, with the plainsong again being utilized as a cantus firmus in the tenor and then the soprano parts. The last verse, unusually, breaks into a lively triple time and ends with a beautifully ornamented Amen.
from notes by Jon Dixon © 1996