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The Requiem of Tomás Luis de Victoria (1603)


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  • Date Published: March 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107054424

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About the Authors
  • Victoria's Requiem is among the best-loved and most-performed musical works of the Renaissance, and is often held to be 'a Requiem for an age', representing the summation of golden-age Spanish polyphony. Yet it has been the focus of surprisingly little research. Owen Rees's multifaceted study brings together the historical and ritual contexts for the work's genesis, the first detailed musical analysis of the Requiem itself, and the long story of its circulation and reception. Victoria composed this music in 1603 for the exequies of María of Austria, and oversaw its publication two years later. A rich variety of contemporary documentation allows these events - and the nature of music in Habsburg exequies - to be reconstructed vividly. Rees then locates Victoria's music within the context of a vast international repertory of Requiems, much of it previously unstudied, and identifies the techniques which render this work so powerfully distinctive and coherent.

    • The first detailed study of this well-loved work, exploring its genesis and impact, and placing it in the context of international repertories of Requiem Masses of the period
    • Presents a detailed picture of the role of music in Habsburg funeral rites in the early-modern period and allows for an interdisciplinary appreciation of these rituals
    • Includes online access to a new authoritative edition of the Requiem (1603)
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    • Winner, 2020 Robert M. Stevenson Award, American Musicological Society

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In his wide-ranging and masterful study, Owen Rees examines Victoria's Requiem as both text and icon. He does so with a scholar's nose for forensic minutiae, an analyst's eye for the telling detail, and a choral director's ear for precision and rigour. His study is a model of its kind … Without a doubt, Rees's study of Victoria's Officium defunctorum will help bring us closer to an understanding of this astonishing work as a Requiem for a Habsburg empress and as a Requiem for us.' Michael Noone, Early Music History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107054424
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 180 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.72kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus. 2 tables 10 music examples
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: 'Requiem for an age'?
    1. Chaplain of the Empress
    2. María's exequies in context
    3. Publishing the Officium Defunctorum
    4. Fashioning the Requiem
    5. 'The crowning work of a great genius'
    Epilogue: Requiem for our age?

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    The Requiem of Tomás Luis de Victoria (1603)

    Owen Rees

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  • Author

    Owen Rees, University of Oxford
    Owen Rees is Professor of Music at the University of Oxford, and Fellow in Music at The Queen's College, University of Oxford. He specialises in Spanish and Portuguese sacred music of the 'golden age' and has published on the principal composers of the period – Morales, Guerrero, and Victoria – and on numerous other repertories, genres, and sources from the Iberian Peninsula.


    • Winner, 2020 Robert M. Stevenson Award, American Musicological Society

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