1603: Tomás Luis de Victoria: Officium Defunctorum, age 55

Officium Defunctorum (Requiem) à 6 by Tomás Luis de Victoria

Officium Defunctorum is a musical setting of the Office of the Dead composed by the Spanish Renaissance composer Tomás Luis de Victoria in 1603. The texts have also been set by other composers including Morales.

Victoria includes settings of the movements of the Requiem Mass, accounting for about 26 minutes of the 42 minute composition, and the work is sometimes referred to as Victoria’s Requiem.

Victoria’s Officium Defunctorum is considered one of the greatest works of sacred choral music of the Renaissance.

From the 1580s Victoria worked at a convent in Madrid where he served as chaplain to the Dowager Empress Maria, sister of Philip II of Spain, daughter of Charles V, wife of Maximilian II and mother of two emperors. Officium Defunctorum was composed for the funeral of the Empress Maria. She died on February 26, 1603 and the great obsequies were performed on April 22 and 23. After Victoria made revisions and published Officium Defunctorum in 1605, he added a dedication to Margret, Maria’s daughter. This piece was also Victoria’s last composition before he passed In 1611.

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