Cantor of Seville by Ken Myers

From Heavenly Harmony

Cantor of Seville

by Ken Myers

If there were a competition for such a thing, the award for Best-Known Choral Composer of the Renaissance would probably go to Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525–1594). For a host of good reasons, Palestrina is the closest thing we have to a sixteenth-century musical celebrity. His contemporary Tomás Luis de Victoria (c. 1548–1611) would probably come away with the silver medal in such a contest.

They were both towering talents and deserve the honors accorded them. But their stature has unfortunately tended to obscure the remarkable (and sometimes superior) work of many of their contemporaries and predecessors. In 1828, priest and composer Giuseppe Baini wrote a biography of Palestrina that launched a movement of hero worship that is still active: a 2009 film, Palestrina—Prince of Music, echoes the legend that Palestrina single-handedly rescued musical beauty from the repressive hands of the Council of Trent. A 2011 BBC program about Victoria's music—admirably sung by The Sixteen—was called God's Composer. Palestrina may have been a prince; Victoria should be understood as a prophet and priest.


Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

more on music from the online archives

33.3—May/June 2020

Consolation in Death

Bach's Cantata BWV 106, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbesteZeit (God's time is the very best time) by Ken Myers

more from the online archives

24.1—January/February 2011

Sanger's Victory

How Planned Parenthood's Founder Played the Christians, and Won by Allan C. Carlson

31.5—September/October 2018

Liberalism Occupied

The Rise of the Gnostic Liberal State After Christianity by Andrew Latham

26.1—Jan/Feb 2013

Lost & Found in the Cosmos

The Alternate & Alternative Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft & C. S. Lewis by C. R. Wiley

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone