P04, 1581b
Thomae Ludovici a Victoria Abvlensis. Cantica B. Virginis Vulgo Magnificat quatuor vocibus. Una cum quatuor antiphonis Beatae Virginis per annum: quae quidem, partim quinis, partim octonis vocibus concinuntur. Ad Michaelem Bonellem Card. Alexandrinum. Romae Ex Typografia Dominici Basae, M. D. LXXXI.


179 pages, plus cover and dedication. Folio máximo. 51 x 34 cm.

Dedicated to: Cardenal Miguel Bonelli.


Cover: image from the specimen of Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica - Gaspari Catalog, Bologna (Italy).


For the highest Michelle Bonello’s grace. S.R.E. Alexandrine Cardinal.

We understand that all those reasons we use to consider all the arts for are as well included in music because if someone pretended to find usefulness, nothing is better than music which, reaching our hearts softly through what we can listen, it seems a benefit not only for our mind and soul but also for our body. But, if someone pretended to find the prestige of antiquity, which task is nobler than this art that has the purpose of praising the immortal Lord or more antique than the one which started existence in those happy spirits before humankind existed? In fact, fair should be that the useful and antique for humankind were the worthiest for our unique Lord as well.

Actually, many arts which had a good beginning often take a worse direction; and this also happens with the art of using the sounds of strings and voices properly.

However, some heartless and wicked men use it more like a means to get the secular life and its pleasures than like a tool to pleasantly reach divine matters and God’s contemplation.

I, for my part, was devoted, because of my birth and education, to take great care of all these skills only for God’s benefit, in such a way that modulation of voices is applied for the main purpose of praising the highest and most blessed God. In this task, although I really try and do my best, I hardly achieve the expected aims.

By now, some evidences of this skill have already been published and we must add this one I have in front of me at the moment, the last in order but not the least, according to my humble opinion, for the importance of its content or for the gentleness of its harmony.

Anyway, it was mi idea to publish this work highlighting it with your honourable name so that it will not only pay my antique respects to you but also to show everybody that matters concerning devotion include specially your person, since you are the living image of your grandfather, the very saintly man Pius V.

Your very humble servant.

Tomás Luis de Victoria.


Translation: Carmen Jerez Cid


[Digital dedicatory access]

Image from the specimen at Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, Bologna (Italy).


[Digital index access]

Image from the specimen at Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, Bologna (Italy).

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Preserved specimens (Cramer/RISM)