Tomás Luis de Victoria was a sixteenth century priest and composer who knew Saint Teresa of Avila, King Philip II of Spain, El Greco and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. His life fit perfectly into the Counter-Reformation period, and he is considered by many to be one of the finest composers of polyphony. His sublime pieces found their way to the New World, less than one-hundred years after Columbus set sail. This outstanding one-hour BBC presentation on the life and works of Victoria is well-worth watching. Famed conductor Harry Christophers leads The Sixteen in performing some of Victoria’s most magnificent works, like his Requiem 1605 in the stunning church of San Antonio de los Alemanes, located in the heart of Madrid.

The music is matched perfectly with breathtaking, intimate footage of sixteenth century Spanish Catholicism. Toward the end (around the 51 minute mark) there is a beautiful discussion of Victoria’s profound mysticism (influenced by his close association with Saint Teresa) and how this mysticism is expressed and experienced in his works.