Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): O Salutaris hostia

Photo: Winchester Cathedral Interior detail, Byzantine Style Icons on the western screen of the retro-choir.  Artist:  Sergei Fyodorof. Date: 1992-96.

Photo: Winchester Cathedral Interior detail, Byzantine Style Icons on the western screen of the retro-choir.
Artist: Sergei Fyodorof. Date: 1992-96.

The text to O salutaris hostia comes from the rite of Benediction, Tallis’ setting is freely composed – it’s completely original with no basis in the chant or other material. It’s a bit unusual in that while its scoring (SATBarB) would lead you to suspect that it’s pre-Reformation it’s style is very definitely later than that it could date from either of the  reigns of Mary or Elizabeth I. It’s a wonderful example of just how skilled Tallis was at taking short and very simple melodic elements and transforming them into substantial works of music. Enjoy :-)

mfi

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): O Salutaris hostia

O salutaris hostia
Quae caeli pandis ostium,
Bella premunt hostilia:
Da robur, fer auxilium.

Antiphon for the Feast of Corpus Christi

O sacrifice that brings salvation,
you who open wide the gate of heaven,
we are hard pressed by hostile war:
give strength, bring help.

Performers: Winchester Cathedral Choir conducted by David Hill.

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