P05, 1583a
Thomae Ludovici a Victoria Abulensis. Missarum libri duo quae partim quaternis, partim quinis, partim senis concinuntur vocibus. Ad Philipum Secundum Hispaniarum Regem Catholicum. Romae. Ex Typographia Dominici Basae. M D LXXXIII. Cum licentia superiorum.


294 pages. 51 x 32cm. Folio máximo.

Dedicated to: Felipe II


Cover: Image from the specimen at Museo internazionale e bilbioteca della musica di Bologna, Bologna (Italy). 


To Philip II, Catholic Kin of Spain, Tomás Luis de Victoria wishes health and happiness.

Since the day, when leaving Spain to Italy I arrived in Rome, together with other noble tasks I devoted myself, I have been working hard and conscientiously with music. However, from the start, happy with my acknowledge, I took the decision of not feeling only satisfied with the pleasure of ears and mind, but also, going farther, this should be useful –just as I could do it- for the present and the future. So, having been working specially in that discipline to which my own nature carried me with a secret instinct and disposition, in order to spread widely the fruits of my talent, I devoted myself to enrich with modulations, mainly the part which is the most frequently celebrated in Catholic church. Because, which is the better purpose of music than to sing God’s praises, from whom number and measure came? Which works are so wonderfully and finely arranged that provide and show a really incredible harmony and concert? That is why it must be considered those who devote themselves to an honest art, thought for lightening worries and calming minds in need of peace, transform it in order to sing indecent loves and other mean matters, are wrong and must be punished in a harder way.

     For this reason, and not to abuse of the divine gift of the best and highest God from whom every benefit comes from, I tried all my best of my talent to sacred and church matters. I prefer to let others consider up to which extent I achieved my goal successfully. According to experts’ opinions and testimonies, I think I really got it up to the point I must never regret my effort and determination.

And, having composed and published before many works which were received with applause, I wanted, already a bit tired, to finish my compositions and to take a rest in an honest retirement, when I stopped my obligations, and also to release my mind in divine contemplation, such as a priest must do, I wanted, I insist on it, to add this last lightning of my talent to which serious reasons moved me, both when I published it and when I had the first thought of doing it, and both in my mind as in my heart, to address it specially to your majesty. Because, after a very  long absence, when I come back to the place I was born, and due to my job, I get to your presence, I could not come up with empty hands, but with some kind of adequate present from my art and ministry worthy for your grace. As a matter of fact, not any other important topic can be offered to a musician to put it into songs and music than the most holy sacrifice of the Mass. So, I finished my works with the pleasure of this purpose. This work, composed by a Spanish man, to whom was more fairly dedicated than to the Catholic king of Spain, pious and worth of God’s love? In fact, I understand and accept that such an important prince is the one who deserves the best such presents; however, it is characteristic of kings’ mercy to pay attention to the intention and not to the present itself when  that concerns their subjects  and subordinates. Actually it is not possible that any normal person’s generosity is equal to royal magnanimity. So, I greatly trust this present from me, honoured by your name and your support, not to be unworthy for the Royal Chapel. I only need that your majesty takes it with that good nature which attracts everybody and I really wish you accept me, your most respectful servant, in your very high and royal spirit, for which I will beg from almighty God and King of Kings everything goes successful and happy, such as my obligation and the circumstances of a Christian state are.


I wish you live and reign for a long time…


Translation: Carmen Jerez Cid

[Digital dedicatory access]

Image from the specimen at Museo internazionale e bilbioteca della musica di Bologna, Bologna (Italy).


[Digital index access]

Image from the specimen at Museo internazionale e bilbioteca della musica di Bologna, Bologna (Italy). 

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Preserved specimens (Cramer/RISM)