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CD Review

Thomas Tallis

Complete Works Volume 8

  • Lamentations of Jeremiah I & II
  • Wipe away my sins
  • Forgive me, Lord, my sin
  • Blessed are those that be undefiled
  • Arise, O Lord, and hear
  • With all our hearts
  • I call and cry to thee
  • O sacred and holy banquet
  • When Jesus went into Simon the Pharisee's house
  • Blessed be thy name
  • O Praise the Lord II
  • Sing and glorify heaven's high majesty
Chapelle du Roi/Alastair Dixon
Signum SIGCD036 63mins
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Thomas Tallis of Greenwich (whose organ is preserved in St. Alfege's Church, close by my London home) was born c.1510. Volume 8 of the Tallis complete works (one more to go!) is well varied and enjoyable for the general listener.

Two settings from the Lamentations are sombre and affecting, mainly syllabic treatment of the texts broken by melismatic settings of the initial Hebrew letters. The motets, all in English, include Sing and glorify, a five-part choir version of the 40-part Spem in alium. Tallis tends to use a restricted vocal range, allowing for easy transposition. The Chapelle du Roi give some in high pitch (SAATB) and others low (ATTBarB). There is a discussion of the English contrafacta, probably arranged after Tallis's death. In those cases where the originals have been lost, repeated notes of short duration, to make the translated words fit, allow them to be identified by scholars.

Well sung, recorded and presented, as one can take for granted with Signum.

Copyright © 2004, Peter Grahame Woolf