The Tallis Scholars top the UK Classical Singles Chart
15 July 2012
"50 Shades" Seductive
Soundtrack tops the Classical Charts
Century Choral Masterpiece on the "playroom" iPod
Tallis Scholars' recording of Thomas Tallis's magnificent Spem in alium, for 40
unaccompanied voices, has today reached Number 1 on the UK's Official Classical
Singles Chart, ending a 3 week run at the top of the chart for Luciano Pavarotti.
Tallis's Spem in alium is featured
in the controversial literary sensation 50
Shades of Grey by
E L James. So many readers, after reading the book, have been downloading
The Tallis Scholars' recording in recent weeks that it has steadily risen in
the Official Classical Singles Chart, from Number 20, to Number 13, to Number 8,
to Number 7 and today to Number 1.
E L James said:
"I am delighted to have introduced so many of my readers to this amazing 16th century piece of music, it is absolutely wonderful and the recording from the Tallis Scholars is particularly special. A deserved number one!!"
around 1570 in the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth, Spem in alium is
written for eight unaccompanied choirs of five voices each, and is one of the
most remarkable choral works ever written. Peter Phillips, director of The
Tallis Scholars, said:
"I am thrilled that Spem in alium has attracted such a
large new audience. It is one of the most remarkable achievements of the human
brain, an extra-ordinary and moving piece written for 40 individual singers.
After performing Spem in alium
for nearly 40 years I still cannot conceive how Thomas Tallis set about writing
it. Even with 21st century computers it would be a daunting task. For me
it ranks alongside the best works of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and
confirms Tallis as England's greatest composer. It's on my iPod!"
According to The Official Chart's Company's sales data, the past
two years have seen a surge in individual classical track download sales in the
UK - up 46% in 2011 compared to 2010 (1.22m vs 834,000). This trend has
continued in 2012, and in the first quarter of this year, some 284,000
classical downloads were sold, a 34% increase on the 212,000 sold in Q1 2011. The Official Charts Company's managing director, Martin Talbot,
"It's fantastic to see
Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars enjoying chart success off the back of
the 50 Shades Of Grey publishing phenomenon, coming just months after the
Military Wives became the first choir to top the Official Singles Chart. It
shows the changing ways in which classical fans are buying their music - track
by track, as well as album by album."
The success of Spem in alium
isn't limited to the UK. The American critic, Anastasia Tsioulcas, writes in
her blog for NPR:
"This Tallis Scholars recording would
definitely be on my own list of desert island albums, and anything that gets
this gorgeousness out in front of a (much, much) wider audience is great."
Scholars - a short biography
The Tallis Scholars were founded by Peter Phillips in 1973.
Through their recordings and concert performances, they have established
themselves as the leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music throughout the
world. Peter Phillips has worked with the ensemble to create, through good
tuning and blend, the purity and clarity of sound which he feels best serve the
Renaissance repertoire, allowing every detail of the musical lines to be heard.
It is the resulting beauty of sound for which The Tallis Scholars have become
so widely renowned.
The Tallis Scholars achieved their first number one back in 1980
with their famous recording of Allegri's Miserere
- recently hailed by BBC Music Magazine as one of the 50 greatest recordings of
all time. In 1987 their CD of music by Josquin was the first recording of Early
Music to win the Gramophone Record of the Year Award. In 1994 they had the
unique privilege to perform in the Sistine Chapel in a concert to celebrate the
restoration of the Michelangelo's frescos. They were nominated for a Grammy
Award in both 2010 and 2011. They tour throughout the world every year and have
given nearly 1,800 concerts.