Masters of the Renaissance

Michelangelo Pieta

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm

  • Victoria Pueri Hebraeorum
  • Victoria Missa pro defunctis "Requiem"
  • Palestrina Ascendo ad Patrem
  • Palestrina Missa Brevis
  • Palestrina Stabat Mater (for two choirs)
  • Palestrina Exaltabo te
  • Palestrina Super flumina Babilonis
  • Palestrina Canite tuba

This year’s Renaissance concert will be centered on two magnificent large-scale works from the late Renaissance.

Palestrina’s Stabat Mater is unique among his more than 1,000 choral compositions. Scored for two choirs, and written primarily in a chordal style rather than his usual polyphonic style, this deeply moving work progresses for over ten minutes as an expressive dialogue between the two separate choruses. At certain key moments Palestrina brings the two choirs together, creating music of great profundity. This piece became something of a legend over the centuries, and was even arranged in the 19th century by no less than Richard Wagner who considered it one of the supreme masterpieces of music.

Tomás Luis de Victoria composed his six-voice Missa pro defunctis (Requiem) in 1603 for the funeral of Empress Maria of Spain. With a style that harkens back to earlier periods of vocal polyphony, it is regarded as one of the last great masterpieces of Renaissance choral music. Although many of Victoria’s motets have long been pillars of the repertory, his final masterpiece has only become known to the general public in the last decade or so. Like many of his finest compositions, the Requiem is imbued with a soaring spirituality and an intense mysticism.