Taverner Anniversary Album

Taverner Anniversary Album
Western Wind Mass / Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas
Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips
Gimell 995
Gimell 454 995


  1. Song: Westron wynde (solo voice)

  2. Western Wind Mass
  3. Gloria
  4. Credo
  5. Sanctus & Benedictus
  6. Agnus Dei I, II & III
  7. Leroy Kyrie

  8. Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas
  9. Gloria
  10. Credo
  11. Sanctus & Benedictus
  12. Agnus Dei I, II & III
  13. Responsory: Dum transisset Sabbatum

Performers: Tessa Bonner, Deborah Roberts, Alison Gough, Ruth Holton, Alison Stamp (trebles); Sally Dunkley, Caroline Trevor, Tessa Bonner, Ruth Duncan (means); David Cordier, Robert Harre-Jones (countertenors); Rufus Müller, Charles Daniels, Mark Padmore, Nicolas Robertson (tenors); Francis Steele, Donald Greig, Peter Harvey, Jeremy White (basses)

Playing time: 79'

Original release dates: 1993 (tracks 1-5), 1984 (tracks 6-11); Re-released: 1995

This recording is a repackaging of Taverner pieces from two earlier recordings by the Tallis Scholars. Like many English composers of the era, Taverner's output is almost entirely of sacred music. As such, this program gives a rather full illustration of his output.

The Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas is a 6-voice Festal Mass of large dimensions and soaring lines. It is also probably Taverner's most famous composition. The "In Nomine" section of the Benedictus was used by many later composers as a cantus firmus for instrumental composition. The mass is an elaborate and thorough summation of the late-Medieval English style.

Other recordings devoted to the Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas:

Taverner & Tudor Music II
Gloria tibi Trinitas
Ars Nova Copenhagen - Paul Hillier
Da Capo 8.226056
Taverner: Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas
The Sixteen - Harry Christophers
Hyperion 66134
Taverner: Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas
Christ Church Cathedral Choir - Stephen Darlington
Avie 2123

The Tallis Scholars' original release:

Taverner: Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas
Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips
Gimell 004

And an even newer release (new performance):

Taverner: Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas
Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips
Gimell 045

The Western Wind Mass is the earliest surviving English mass based on a secular tune. In this case the form is much more compact (for four voices), consisting of a large set of variations throughout the movements, buoyed by 36 restatements of the theme. It thus shows a more forward-thinking style, and is Taverner's second most famous composition.

The Tallis Scholars' original release, illustrating this influence:

The Western Wind
Taverner / Tye / Sheppard
Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips
Gimell 454 927

Here the Western Wind Mass is performed with settings by his younger contemporaries, Christopher Tye & John Sheppard.

The Leroy Kyrie and Dum transisset Sabbatum responsory show a more modern idiom, and were apparently composed later in Taverner's life. Here the balanced and more tightly constructed phrases show the direction of English sacred music for the later 16th century.

A couple of other recordings devoted to Taverner:

Taverner: Mater Christi & Western Wynde Masses
The Choir of New College Oxford - Edward Higginbottom
CRD 3372
Byrd: Mass / Motets
Taverner: Sacred Music
Pro Cantione Antiqua - Bruno Turner & Mark Brown
AS&V Quicksilva 6132

A larger collection featuring Taverner:

English Choral Music: 1514-1682
Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford - Stephen Darlington
Nimbus 1762 (8 CDs)

Onward to other repertory of the era....

An excellent survey of music from this era (and slightly before):

Taverner / Browne / Carver
Masterworks from late-medieval England and Scotland
Taverner Choir - Andrew Parrott
EMI Reflexe 49661

Another important composer of the generation of John Browne (fl. c.1490) was William Cornysh (c.1465-1523). Recordings by the present ensemble devoted to each:

Browne: Music from the Eton Choirbook
Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips
Gimell 036
William Cornysh: Stabat Mater, etc.
Tallis Scholars - Peter Philips
Gimell 454 914

The second disc above includes secular works along with the predominant sacred output of England in this period. A classic recording of secular music:

Songs for a Tudor King
Fayrfax / Browne / Cornysh, etc.
Hilliard Ensemble - Paul Hillier
Saga Classics 5461

Robert Fayrfax (c.1464-1521) was the leading composer in the period between the Eton Choirbook and Taverner (c.1495-1545). A recording:

Fayrfax: Missa O quam glorifica / Ave Dei patris filia
The Cardinall's Musick - Andrew Carwood / David Skinner
AS&V Gaudeamus 142

Robert Carver (c.1484-c.1568) is generally regarded as the premier composer in the history of Scotland. The first recording in a series of three devoted to his complete surviving output:

Scottish Renaissance Polyphony
Carver: 10-part Mass / 2 Motets
Cappella Nova - Alan Tavener
AS&V Gaudeamus 124

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Todd M. McComb