Vittoria, Tomasso Ludovico da



Born in Avila, Spain; he was taken at an early age to Rome, where he became one of the leading musicians. He ranks next to Palestrina as the greatest musician of the Roman school of the Sixteenth Century. He received his musical education from his countrymen, Escobedo and Morales. While Vittoria never studied under Palestrina, yet Palestrina nevertheless influenced him through his friendship and Vittoria's great admiration of him. In the year 1572 appeared Vittoria's first publication, a book of motets. The next year he was made chapelmaster of the German College, upon its being reorganized under Gregory XIII. His next appointment was that of choirmaster of St. Apollinaris, which he held from 1575 to 1589. During this time he published many works, among which were a set of Magnificats with Antiphones B. V. M., and a book of hymns for four voices, to which is appended four Psalms for eight voices, 1581. The latter work was dedicated to Gregory XIII. and preceded Pales- trina's book of Hymns, which was published in 1589. Of the two books of hymns, Vittoria's is characterized by a unique tenderness of expression with less elaboration. Another book of motets for four, five, six, eight and twelve voices was published in 1583 and still another for all the feasts of the year appeared in 1588. A First Book of Masses, published, at Rome, was dedicated to Philip IL of Spain. Two years later his Officium Hebdomadse Sanctae appeared, containing settings of the Improperia, the Lamentations, and the Turbae of the Passion. From this work are taken the Selectissimae Modulationes, published in the fourth volume of the Musica Divina by Proske. Vittoria returned to Madrid about 1589 and was appointed vice-master of the Royal Chapel established by Philip II. of Spain.


His second book of masses was published in 1592 and was dedicated to Cardinal Albert, son of the Empress Maria. This dedication contains an expression of gratitude for the position of chaplain to the Imperial Court, which post he held until 1602. His next music of importance was written for the funeral of Empress Maria. This work is undoubtedly his best and is of a surprisingly modern character, the effect being produced more by the succession of powerful and expressive harmonies than by the mere melodious movements of the parts, as heretofore. Vittoria died in Madrid supposedly in 1608, three years after the publication of the Requiem just referred to. He was probably the greatest composer Spain ever produced, and one of the best in Rome.


The Requiem, the mass Ave maris Stella, and five motets are published in score of Eslava's Lira sacrohispana, first series.