The motet O magnum mysterium by Cristóbal de Morales

Many sixteenth and seventeenth-century composers have set the text O Magnum mysterium with wonderful polyphonic results, such as Willaert, Gabrieli, Palestrina, Victoria, and, Morales only to name a few. In Portugal during this period we find at least three settings of this text – all as responsories – by Pedro de Cristo, Duarte Lobo and Estêvão Lopes Morago respectively, being the Cristo setting the most widely known.

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Two Magnificat Settings by Francesco Soriano

Francesco Soriano is one of the cases where composers of the same generation become lesser known than the popular composers of the time, and the last decades of the sixteenth century were a great time to be forgotten from the mainstream Music History books. It was the case in Italy during Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’s or in Spain during Victoria’s time. Soriano was born near Viterbo in 1548 or 1549 and died in Rome on 29 July 1621. He studied with Palestrina during his early years as a choirboy of the cappella in St John Lateran, being ordained to the priesthood in the 1570s. In 1580 he was appointed maestro di cappella of the Roman church of S. Luigi dei Francesi and, in the following year, he took a position at the Gonzaga court in Mantua but returned to Rome in 1586 where he spent the rest of his life as choirmaster of three churches, including the Cappella Giulia in St Peter’s, retiring from these duties in 1620.

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