Spanish Easter celebrations at the Piazza Navona, Rome in the 1580s

This recording sets out to reconstruct the sense of excitement and grandeur that surrounded Spanish Easter celebrations in the 1580s at the Church of St. Giacomo degli Spagnoli and the adjacent square of the Piazza Navona in the heart of Rome. At this time, Spain had much political and religious influence in Italy and spent large sums of money on these ceremonies which had both a strong visual and sonic impact, with colored lights, singing birds, fanfares, floats and fireworks. Music also played a crucial role, and the presence of Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548 – 1611) and his music lent prestige to the festivities for the Spanish community in Rome.

Among the many appealing aspects of this beautifully presented two CD clam-shell box from Lauda Musica is the sheer variety of the music, and with the timbres of sound. Although Tomás Luis de Victoria is the only composer mentioned on the album cover, only seven works out of twenty-five are by him, the others written by a range of his contemporaries. Vocal motets, psalms, plainchant and hymns written polyphonically or polychorally (choirs of voices spatially distanced) appear interspersed with instrumental pieces and fanfares performed by various combinations of cornets, sackbutts, violons, harpsichord, portative organ and solo lute. Because of this great diversity, the album remains fresh throughout and the music bears repeated listening very well.

The performances, too, are superb. La Grande Chapelle is a group of fifteen singers and thirteen instrumentalists under the direction of Albert Recasens. Even within the diversity of the program, there is a homogeneous characteristic beyond the uniform high quality of the performances alone. Excellent, extensive and very interesting notes round out this beautiful box set from Lauda Musica.

Album Overview

The Easter holiday in Piazza Navona. Tomás Luis de Victoria and Spanish brotherhood of the Resurrection in Rome

The brotherhood of the Resurrection of S. Giacomo degli Spagnoli Castilla-national church in Rome, organized, since 1579, the feast of Easter in Piazza Navona, one of the most splendid public celebrations during the time of Spanish supremacy in Italy. To the solemn procession which took place before dawn, the square is adorned with allegorical scenes ephemeral architecture and accompanied by lights, fireworks and music by the best singers of the city located in boxes or in courtship. Not for nothing was organized as a symbol of the hegemony of the Spanish nation as powerful propaganda tool. Member of the Brotherhood, Tomás Luis de Victoria was linked to the procession before his return to Spain in 1585.

This double CD first evokes the music could have been played in church and around the square during this important Roman festival. It happens a massive selection of vocal and instrumental works of composers who, along with Victoria, were involved in organizing the festival (as Francisco Soto or Ruggiero Giovanelli) or whose music was preserved in the archives of S. Giacomo degli Spagnoli (Jacobus de Kerle, Giovanni P. da Palestrina, Giovanni Animuccia, Rocco Rhodium or Francisco Guerrero). This superb recreation, and offer a new reading of Victoria, immerses us in new ways, in the sound that was familiar Roman in its final stage: from the sumptuous polychoral works, reminiscent Venetian, to simple environmental spirituali laude the Oratory of St. Philip Neri.

In short, another first for La Grande Chapelle which places in context to one of the greatest composers has given the Spanish Renaissance.


Conductor: Albert Recasens

Born in Cambrils (Tarragona). Started at an early age, his musical studies under the direction of his father, teacher and director Angel Recasens, mainly in the Conservatory of Vilaseca and Salou. He honed his musical skills in the School of Music of Barcelona, ​​Bruges Conservatory and… read more

Performers: La Grande Chapelle

La Grande Chapelle has emerged recently in the landscape of old Spanish music, thanks to the balance of its versions, with emphasis on voices and musicological rigor. With surprising success is offering a new vision… read more


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