Hyperion Records

O magnum mysterium
The motet O magnum mysterium (published in 1572) has been a favourite of choirs ever since the revival of Victoria’s music eighty years ago. Although the original publication entitles it In Circuncisione Domini, its text is taken from a responsory of Christmas Matins and its use has always been as a Christmas motet. One of Victoria’s most endearing creations, it unfolds serenely, richly warm when it expresses the wonder that even the animals behold the Infant in the manger. Then a wonderful hush as Victoria musically caresses ‘O beata Virgo’. The final ‘Alleluia’ dances in triple time and then, with a welter of running notes, comes grandly to a close. The work is set for four-part choir (SATB).

from notes by Bruno Turner 1985

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