When The Saints Go Marching In
Victoria- Missa O qualm gloriosum Byrd- All Saints Propers Lassus and Palestrina motets
Victoria's motet O quam gloriosum has been called “the greatest hit of the 16th
century.” It marvelously depicts in music the text of the Magnificat Antiphon at Vespers on the Feast of All Saints, “ O how glorious is the kingdom where the saints rejoice with Christ.”
Victoria’s joyous Missa O quam gloriosum, based on the motet, has become perhaps the best known and loved of the composer's Masses in modern times. Tovey called it one of the most perfect Masses ever written. Its masterful polyphony has a marvelous controlled fervor typical of Victoria.
Byrd's Propers for All Saints are part of his monumental Gradualia, which includes music for the Propers of the Mass for all major feasts in the liturgical year, a feat achieved by few composers. Composed at Byrd's personal risk (in Elizabethan England) for clandestine celebration of the feast by Jesuit missionaries and English Catholics, Byrd's celebratory music depicts the individual words of the Propers in a way strikingly parallel to St. Ignatius of Loyola's technique of meditating word by word on sacred texts.