Main content

Lassus and de Victoria

Peter Phillips celebrates the wonder of Renaissance choral music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers, Orlando Lassus and Tomas Luis de Victoria.

Peter Phillips continues his six-part series celebrating the Glory of Polyphony.

Polyphony (literally, 'many sounds') reached its peak in choral music during the historic Renaissance period. Peter Phillips first discovered its magnificent sound world at the age of 16 and ever since has devoted his life to performing and recording it. He even formed his record label and choir -The Tallis Scholars - to share the music with others. In each programme in this series, Peter will share his knowledge of and passion for Renaissance choral music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers. He'll showcase their unique styles against the social backdrops of the late 15th to early 17th centuries by telling some of their personal stories and explaining the original purpose of the music. He'll also explore the music's meditative qualities and its power to affect worshippers and audiences past and present.

In this third programme, Peter will delve into the lives and music of two contemporary but contrasting musicians: the Flemish singer and composer Orlando Lassus and the Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria.

Victoria, the committed priest and darling of the Counter-Reformation in Spain wrote music of unparalleled religious intensity, with simple melodic lines and rhythmic variation. Lassus, on the other hand was another Flanders export, thought to have been kidnapped three times as a boy because of his extraordinary singing voice. A Humanist, widely travelled and enormously respected, Lassus' more experimental style included some pretty extreme chromaticism for the time.

Available now

35 minutes

Music Played

  • Tomás Luis de Victoria

    Requiem a 6

    Performer: Peter Philips. Choir: Tallis Scholars.
  • Tomás Luis de Victoria

    Iesum tradidit impius [Responsories]

    Performer: George Malcolm. Choir: Westminster Cathedral Choir.
  • Tomás Luis de Victoria

    Ave Maria a 8

    Choir: Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal. Director: Christopher Jackson.
  • Tomás Luis de Victoria

    O Magnum Mysterium

    Choir: Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge. Conductor: George Guest.
  • Orlande de Lassus

    Missa Bel'Amfitrit'altera (Credo)

    Choir: Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford. Director: Simon Preston.
  • Orlande de Lassus

    Prophetiae Sibyllarum: Carmina chromatico; Sibylla Persica; Sibylla Libica

    Choir: Vocalconsort Berlin.
  • Cipriano de Rore

    Calami Sonum Ferentes

    Ensemble: Huelgas Ensemble. Conductor: Paul Van Nevel.
  • Orlande de Lassus

    Media Vita

    Choir: El León de Oro. Conductor: Peter Phillips.


Featured in...