Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Come, Holy Ghost

You may have heard Tallis’ English language setting of Veni Creator referred to as "Tallis’ Ordinal" it’s to be found in the whole Psalter translated into English metre published in 1567 by the Elizabethan music printer John Day. That psalter contained inter alia metrical translations of psalms by Matthew Parker, the first Anglican Archbishop of…

Feature: Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Sancte Deus

In early Tudor England composers produced four main types of church music: Masses, Magnificats, Votive antiphons Smaller liturgical pieces From this we know that Tallis would have composed this votive antiphon for four voices (SATB) during Henry VIII’s reign but before the Reformation. It must have been fairly popular because it was set both by…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): With all our hearts

This motet suitable for Trinity is a contrafactum of  Tallis’ first setting of Salvator mundi it was clearly popular with Tallis’ contemporaries (and indeed the succeeding generation) as it was very widespread during the reigns both of Elizabeth I and James I. I have to say I feel that in places the English text isn’t…

Ensemble Gli Angeli (Geneva): Thomas Tallis Concert – (Utrecht Early Music Festival 2015)

The vocal ensemble Gli Angeli Genève under Stephen MacLeod gave this concluding concert to this year’s Utrecht Festival of Ancient music on September 6th at the Vredenburg Tivoli in Utrecht. In line with 16th century practice the singers’ efforts are supplemented by an instrumental accompaniment in this case Renaissance recorders.  Enjoy :-). Lamentations of Jeremiah…

My cup runneth over

There’s been a glut of excellent music performed live from YouTube channels that I follow in the last fortnight.  One of those channels is The Choir of Somerville College, Oxford’s channel who uploaded this performance of Wood’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in D given at Washington National Cathedral on July 1st 2014,  and Tallis’ If…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Euge caeli porta

In early Tudor England the cult of the Virgin Mary was in full flower. There was considerable demand for Marian music, antiphons, motets, hymns, and settings of liturgical texts to be sung in the special votive Mass of the Virgin known as the Lady Mass. Euge caeli porta (Welcome gate of heaven) is one such…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585)(attrib): Out from the deep

Tallis was one of the composers who composed some of the earliest English anthems. Tallis is generally reckoned to have composed around forty but that’s a more than somewhat misleading figure as quite a few of his English compositions are straightforward contrafacta of Latin compositions. There are also several anthems which are no believed to…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Derelinquat impius

Derelinquat impius (May the unrighteous) takes its text from Isaiah and was the fifth Respond at Matins on the First Sunday in Lent. Andrew Carwood describes it as "surprising and unsettling because of the peregrinations of the opening bars" with some "eyebrow-raising melodic moments".  But surely that was the entire point? Tallis rarely, very rarely,…