Workshop Details

Tomás Luis de Victoria

Officium Defunctorum (Requiem) 1605


Saturday, 2 April 2011, 10.00 am to 5.00 pm

Selly Oak Methodist Church, Langleys Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6HT

Tutor: David Hill


In this programme we will work on the celebrated setting of the Requiem Mass, the Officium Defunctorum or Office of the Dead of 1605, by one the greatest of all late-Renaissance composers, the Spanish priest Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). This is Victoria’s anniversary year, so it is appropriate that we should devote a workshop to one of his most famous compositions.

The Requiem, his second setting of this liturgy (there is an earlier four-part setting) is a six-part work, with divided sopranos and tenors. It was composed in 1603 for the obsequies performed after the death of the Dowager Empress Maria, sister of Philip II, and published two years later.

Victoria was born in Avila (the town especially associated with St. Teresa) around 1548, becoming a chorister in the cathedral there at about the age of ten. He was sent in 1565 to the Jesuit Collegium Germanicum in Rome, where he may have studied with Palestrina. From 1569 Victoria held musical appointments at various Roman establishments, including the Collegium. He was ordained priest in 1575 and returned to Spain in 1587, becoming chaplain to the Dowager Empress Maria at the Royal Convent for the Barefoot Clares, where he directed the choir.

We are delighted and privileged to welcome, as our tutor for this workshop, David Hill, one of the UK’s leading choral conductors. This will be the second occasion on which David has worked with us on the Requiem; he led a memorable workshop on it some years ago. He has directed many of the UK’s leading choirs, including those of the Cathedrals of Westminster and Winchester, the Bach Choir of London and the BBC Singers, and has made many broadcasts and award-winning recordings, especially with the Westminster choir.

The music of Victoria was central to the repertoire of the choir of Westminster Cathedral, and David and the Choir made a highly-regarded recording of the Requiem in the 1980s, as well as many other recordings of Victoria’s music. His repertoire extends far beyond the Renaissance, however, and he has recorded film scores as well as commissioning new music; at present, he is engaged in a major recording project surveying English choral composers with the Bach Choir of London.

David also has a busy career as an orchestral conductor, having conducted many leading orchestras in this country and abroad, while also finding time in a hectic schedule to give organ recitals.

There will be opportunities for singers in all voice parts. We will use the Mapa Mundi score of the Requiem, hired from the Bach Choir of London. Given that the tenor part is divided, we especially welcome applications from tenors!

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