Tallis: Spem in alium / Lamentations / Mass & Motets

Tallis: Spem in alium / Lamentations / Mass & Motets
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Linn 075
Linn 233


  1. Te lucis ante terminum
  2. Salvator mundi
  3. Spem in alium
  4. In iejunio et fletu
  5. O Salutaris hostia
  6. Lamentations I
  7. Lamentations II
  8. Miserere

  9. Mass for 4 voices
  10. Gloria
  11. Credo
  12. Sanctus
  13. Benedictus
  14. Agnus Dei

Performers: Rebecca Outram (soprano), Sally Dunkley (soprano), Helen Groves (soprano), Lisa Beckley (soprano), Janet Coxwell (soprano), Emma Brain-Gabbott (soprano), Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Clare Seaton (soprano), Patrick Craig (alto), Stephen Taylor (alto), Michael Lees (alto), David Clegg (also), Lucy Ballard (alto), Robin Tyson (alto), James Bowman (alto), Fergus McLusky (alto), Stephen Carter (alto), James Gilchrist (tenor), Nicholas Todd (tenor), Andrew Carwood (tenor), Daniel Norman (tenor), Benedict Coldstream (tenor), Nicholas Smith (tenor), Julian Stocker (tenor), Matthew Beale (tenor), Ashley Catling (tenor), Steven Harrold (tenor), Tom Raskin (tenor), William Clements (baritone), Richard Lea (baritone), Robert Rice (baritone), Eamonn Dougan (baritone), Neil Bellingham (baritone, bass), Edward Wickham (baritone), Alistair Hamilton (baritone), Christopher Hodges (baritone), Julian Walker (bass), Robert Macdonald (bass), Benjamin Bevan (bass), Michael McCarthy (bass), Jonathan Arnold (bass), Matthew Brook (bass), Francis Brett (bass), Paul Grier (bass)

Playing time: 67'

Recording dates: November 1995, June 1997 (Hampstead), January 2000 (Buckland)

Together with William Byrd, Tallis was the first composer to begin publishing music in England (1575). The majority of his choral music is set in a relatively simple syllabic style, making frequent use of imitation. However, Tallis also wrote several unusual pieces in different forms.

His 40-part motet Spem in alium is his most widely known composition, and certainly his most unusual. His setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah is his most sophisticated contrapuntal piece, and the most widely admired among specialists.

The collection for the true Tallis enthusiast:

Tallis: The Complete Works
First Ever Recording of the Complete Works of the Father of English Music
Chapelle du Roi - Alistair Dixon
Signum 060 (10 CDs)

There are several other significant recordings devoted to Tallis. A selection:

The Tallis Christmas Mass
Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips
Gimell 454 934
Tallis: Latin Church Music
Taverner Consort & Choir - Andrew Parrott
EMI Reflexe 49555
Tallis: Gaude gloriosa, etc.
The Cardinall's Musick - Andrew Carwood
Hyperion 67548
Tallis: The Lamentations of Jeremiah
Lamentations, Mass for 4 voices, Motets
Hilliard Ensemble
ECM New Series 1341
Tallis: Lamentations of Jeremiah / Motets / Keyboard works
Ars Nova Ensemble - Bo Holten
Kontrapunkt 32003

For an assortment of other recordings, please see the Tallis selective discography.

Tallis also wrote a handful of keyboard and consort pieces, sometimes in elaborate styles. The following recording summarizes these instrumental styles, along with some secular songs:

Tallis: Complete Works - Volume 9
Instrumental Music and Songs
Stephen Taylor / Charivari Agréable, et al.
Signum 042 (2 CDs)

A recent recording, featuring several of the largest-scale Renaissance choral pieces:

Utopia Triumphans
The Great Polyphony of the Renaissance
Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel
Sony Vivarte 66261

The purpose of that disc (which includes "Spem in alium") is to present choral pieces with large numbers of parts, including the Striggio motet which reportedly motivated Tallis.

Some recordings devoted to other interesting English composers of Tallis' generation, Robert White (c.1538-1574), John Merbecke (c.1505-c.1585), Robert Parsons (c.1530-1572), and William Mundy (c.1530-c.1590):

White: Tudor Church Music
Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips
Gimell 454 930
Merbecke: Missa Per arma iustitie
The Cardinall's Musick - Andrew Carwood
AS&V Gaudeamus 148
Parsons: First Great Service / Responds for the Dead
Voces Cantabiles - Barnaby Smith
Naxos 8.570451
Cathedral Music by William Mundy
The Sixteen - Harry Christophers
Hyperion 66319

Finally, other recordings by the present ensemble:

The Golden Age Volume 1: Europe
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Linn 052
Victoria: Officium Defunctorum
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Linn 060
Rogier: Missa Ego sum qui sum
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Linn 109
Palestrina: Canticum Canticorum
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Linn 174
Rogier: Polychoral Works
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Linn 348
Rogier: Music from the Missae Sex
Missa Inclita stirps Jesse / Missa Philippus Secundus Rex Hispaniae
Magnificat / His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts - Philip Cave
Linn 387
Where late the sweet birds sang
Parsons / White / Byrd
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Linn 417
Scattered Ashes
Josquin's Miserere and the Savonarolan Legacy
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Linn 517 [CDx2]
Robert Ramsey: Choral Music
Magnificat Choir & Players - Philip Cave
AS&V "Gaudeamus" 138
The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth I
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Soundalive 3055
Griffin 4032
Anglo-Saxon Chant
Chant in Honour of Anglo Saxon Saints
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Griffin 4004
Gregorian Chants
Magnificat - Philip Cave
Hit Records 019 (2 CDs)

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Todd M. McComb