Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
Tomás Luis de Victoria, the greatest composer of the Spanish sixteenth-century ‘golden age’ of polyphonic music, was born in Avila in 1548 and in about 1558 became a choirboy in Avila Cathedral, where he received his earliest musical training. When his voice broke he was sent to the Collegium Germanicum at Rome where he was enrolled as a student in 1565. He was to spend the next twenty years in Rome and he occupied a number of posts there of which the most important were at S Maria di Monserrato, the Collegium Germanicum, the Roman Seminary (where he succeeded Palestrina as maestro di cappella in 1571) and S Apollinare. In 1575 he took holy orders and three years later was admitted to chaplaincy at S Girolamo della Carità. Around 1587 he left Italy and in that year took up an appointment as chaplain to the dowager Empress María at the Royal Convent for Barefoot Clarist Nuns, where he acted as maestro to the choir of priests and boys.