Victoria published a total of 15 collections of music during his life
(see section editions).
Besides these official editions there are manuscript sources with works attributed to the abulense, but which probably are apocryphal, that is, not really written by Victoria. Let us look at some examples.
Besides these examples, there are many more manuscript sources with works supposedly by
Victoria. An exhaustive list is in the wonderful book by professor Eugene Casjen Cramer
Tomás Luis de Victoria, a guide to research (see section
This is probably the most popular piece of Victoria among amateur choirs.
Ironically it is almost certainly not authentic.
I have one more piece of evidence for the inauthencity of this work, although I do not know
if any musicologist
would accept it. My girlfriend does not like Victoria's music very much, but allows me to
listen to it. The strange things is that she recognizes the Ave Maria immediately when it plays
and asks me to stop the music.
- In the first place it does not figure in any printed edition.
- Many experts find that it sounds very different from the author's other works.
- It has aesthetic features that are not in Victoria's style. The most clear example is the part
Sancta Maria Mater Dei, Sancta Maria Mater Dei
that is repeated in a forte-piano effect, more proper of the baroque epoch.
- The manuscript sources are relatively recent. Besides two copies of late 19th century there are three other manuscripts:
- Regensburg, attributed to Victoria
- Munich, attributed to Valentinus Judex
- Munich, another copy, this time anonymous
- There exists a very interesting theory:
As the great musicologist of 19th century, Karl Proske, was completing his famous compilation
musica divina, he included some pieces of unknown composers in the last volume.
His disciple, who completed the edition after Proske's death, attributed this Ave Maria
to Victoria. Some think it is actually a composition by Proske himself.
This motet has a voice disposition that is not found in any other work by Victoria: CAATBB.
It is preserved in two manuscript sources:
- Münster, attributed to Victoria
- Roma, attributed to Nanino
This is also one of the more popular pieces with choirs. It was attributed to Victoria by
Joseph Napoleon Ney in the 19th century.
Although some experts, for example Samuel Rubio, think that it is an authentic work,
most find this difficult to accept. The Swiss musicologist Hans von May, for example,
presents a good amount of evidence in his book
Die Kompositionstechnik T.L. de Victorias of 1948 :
- Bar 19. No other work of Victoria contains a D sharp (in the original tonality).
- Bar 8 of the tenor and bar 10 of the altus. An ornament appears with a dissonance in
the upper note.
- Bar 5. Dominant seventh chord inverted without preparation.
- Bars 8 and 9 of the cantus. Step of a descending fourth to resolve a dissonance.
- Bars 20 and 22 of the tenor. Descending steps of diminished fourths (Victoria only uses these
melodic intervals if they are ascendent).
- The text is the first verse of a hymn, but Victoria always set the even verses of his hymns.
This mass was discovered by Pedrell, who included it in the last volume of his edition of
Victoria's Opera Omnia. But Casimiri, in his article
Una Missa Dominicalis falsamente attribuita a Tommaso Ludovico de Victoria,
gives up to 19 examples of techiques not in the style of Victoria, for instance:
- Ascending step of a major sixth.
- Unprepared sevenths.
- Diminished sevenths and fifths resolved by steps.
Mass Pange Lingua a 4
This mass was found, attributed to Victoria, in the cathedral of Cuenca.
But another copy has been found in an undated manuscript in which it is attributed to
J. Pérez Roldán.
In the book by Eugene Cramer Studies in the music of Tomás Luis de Victoria,
is studied the authorship of this motete and is mentioned the hypothesis of being a plagiarism by the composer
Felice Anerio. It is preserved it two manuscript sources:
- Roma, attributed to Victoria
- Münster, attributed to Anerio
My personal opinion
Since our composer is such a popular musician, in his own time as well as today,
is understandable that when a composition of unknown authorship appears in any
there is a temptation attribute it to him. A few years ago a complete mass was found in the
Cathedral of Malaga, and the first theory of the investigators who found it was of course that it
was composed by our abulense. I do not know what has happened with this mass.
It is true that there are authentic works not listed in the 15 printed editions, for example
the 10 Verspers Psalms. But the fact that during his life Victoria published so many re-editions
of his own works, makes me suspect that either none of these other pieces is authentic, or they
are works of low quality which Victoria did not want to publish. Neverless, we have to bear in
mind that in the last years of his life he published almost nothing at all, and it is possible
that some works of this late period are only preserved in manuscript.