The Tallis Scholars
THOMAS TALLIS Loquebantur variis linguis
THOMAS TALLIS Suscipe quaeso
WILLIAM BYRD Ave verum
WILLIAM BYRD Mass for four voices
JOHN SHEPPARD Gaude, gaude, gaude
WILLIAM BYRD Propers for All Saints
WILLIAM BYRD Tribue domine
End of performance approx 13:00.
Print programme (PDF)
Thomas Tallis’s responsory, “Loquebantur variis linguis,” written before the abolition of the Catholic liturgy in England in 1558, provides the Pentecostal prelude to an a cappella programme that – in musical terms – will transport the listener to the time of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Thomas Tallis, John Sheppard and William Byrd all belonged to the Elizabethan period and created their compositions during the tempestuous years of the Anglican Reformation.
Tallis is famous as the creator of complex choral works in the pre-Reformation polyphonic style. Queen Elizabeth I of England granted him and his colleague William Byrd, with whom he shared the post of organist at the Chapel Royal, the exclusive right to print and sell sheet music. This places us in the fortunate position of possessing his works in their authentic original form.
Byrd enjoyed the reputation of being an “English Palestrina,” which enabled him – as an ardent Catholic – to work unchallenged in Protestant England. His liturgical works, composed to accompany the Roman Catholic mass, were presumably performed only in the greatest secrecy during private worship. Nonetheless, this creator of masses, psalms and motets as well as songs, sonnets and instrumental music for viol consort or keyboard instruments had a decisive influence on the music of England, Germany and the Netherlands.