Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611) is now considered one of Spain’s most famous composers, yet in his time he was regarded more as a Roman writer and little known in Spain until he returned there in 1587. Born near the great spiritual centre of Avila, he went to study in Rome after his voice broke and held numerous posts there before becoming maestro at the German College. In 1583 he petitioned King Phillip II that he might return to Spain to concentrate on his priestly duties (he had been ordained priest in 1575) and was allowed to return as chaplain to the Dowager Empress Maria. His five-part setting of the Marian antiphon for the Christmas season Alma redemptoris mater
is an extended and richly coloured composition, spacious and grand.
from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2006