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Track Time Price
1 Play

Media vita - Sheppard

21:45 $7.95
2 Play

Christe Redemptor omnium - Sheppard

4:46 $1.59
3 Play

Reges Tharsis - Sheppard

5:04 $3.18
4 Play

Sacris solemniis - Sheppard

7:32 $3.18
5 Play

In manus tuas I - Sheppard

3:28 $1.59
6 Play

In manus tuas II - Sheppard

2:56 $1.59
7 Play

In manus tuas III - Sheppard

2:54 $1.59
8 Play

Verbum caro - Sheppard

6:57 $3.18
9 Play

Western Wind Mass - Gloria - Sheppard

4:59 $1.59
10 Play

Western Wind Mass - Credo - Sheppard

5:22 $3.18
11 Play

Western Wind Mass - Sanctus & Benedictus - Sheppard

5:28 $3.18
12 Play

Western Wind Mass - Agnus Dei - Sheppard

4:44 $1.59
13 Play

In ieiunio et fletu - Tallis

4:44 $1.59
14 Play

O salutaris hostia - Tallis

3:02 $1.59
15 Play

O nata lux - Tallis

2:06 $1.59
16 Play

Magnificat - White

14:48 $4.77
17 Play

Portio mea - White

7:15 $3.18
18 Play

Regina caeli - White

3:57 $1.59
19 Play

Christe qui lux es III - White

4:55 $1.59
20 Play

Christe qui lux es IV - White

5:08 $3.18
21 Play

Exaudiat te Dominus - White

9:46 $3.18
22 Play

Lamentations (5vv) - White

22:05 $7.95
Total Playing Time  154 minutes Purchase all tracks  $9.99

The Tallis Scholars sing Tudor Church Music - Volume Two

The Tallis Scholars

CDGIM 210

Total Playing Time 154 minutes

"Of all the polyphony we have recorded, this early English style with its dazzling high treble parts and luminous sonorities is, for me, as good as it gets. Our pioneering performances of Sheppard and White have shown them to be the equals of Tallis and Byrd." Peter Phillips

A specially-priced selection of previously-issued recordings.

English sacred music of the sixteenth century has formed the backbone of everything The Tallis Scholars have done, right from the beginning. The original reason why we chose to have ten core singers in the group was because the English composers of this period had developed a choir with five basic voice-ranges, instead of the more normal four, and I had decided that the dazzling sonorities inherent in their writing benefitted from having two singers on each part. This dazzle is emphasized if the music is sung at a high pitch, which led us increasingly to perform with four sopranos - two high and two lower - above two countertenors, two tenors and two basses. Thus was born the classic Tallis Scholars line-up, which later could be adapted to sing much mainland European renaissance music as well. Such a line-up sounds almost inevitable now, but it wasn't in 1973.

This second volume of The Tallis Scholars sing Tudor Church Music brings the story of English sonority to the middle years of the sixteenth century, when the gap between it and what was being written on the continent of Europe was just as wide as in the time of Browne, Cornysh and Taverner who are featured in Volume One (CDGIM 209). Instead of the densely packed texures of Gombert and Willaert there is the gothic spaciousness of Sheppard. Instead of the relentlessly argued imitative counterpoint of Clemens and Manchicourt there is the fluency and sheer beauty of melody of Tallis and White. Where Palestrina strove to perfect his sound world, Thomas Tallis set about experimenting with every imaginable combination of voices, from the forty in Spem in alium, to the miniature If ye love me, and from the low choir of In ieiunio et fletu (Track 13) to the high choir of O salutaris hostia and O nata lux (Tracks 14 and 15). This story of the way English sonority developed is amplified and brought to a conclusion in The Tallis Scholars sing Thomas Tallis (CDGIM 203, which does not contain the three tracks issued here) and The Tallis Scholars sing William Byrd (CDGIM 208).

John Sheppard (c1515-December 1558) ranks as one of the most original, if not wide-ranging, composers to come from Britain. Media vita is his masterpiece, unrivalled for its breadth of phrase and expressive power, summing up everything about Sheppard and the creative world which surrounded him: the high treble part leading to breath-taking sonorities, the doubled altos, the old-fashioned reliance on a chant cantus firmus, the persistent, quirky use of a certain kind of dissonance. This is also the formula which underlies Reges Tharsis and Verbum caro, though worked out more concisely than in Media vita. But take away the treble part and you have Christe Redemptor omnium and In manus tuas I; take away the treble and mean parts and you have In manus tuas II. Early in his career Sheppard must have found a basic method which pleased him, for he rarely adapted it. The only exception here is to be found in Sacris solemniis, where his search for sonority took him into new territory. In this masterpiece he divided the altos, means and trebles to create, with the tenors and basses, an eight-part texture. Apart from his own Libera nos settings I know of no other example of this scoring. Certainly there were plenty of contemporary examples of eight-part writing from Europe - from Crecquillon's Pater peccavi to Lassus's double-choir music - but they only point up how different the English were. Lassus, cosmopolitan as he was, would have scarcely been able to believe his ears had he ever heard Media vita or Sacris solemniis.

Sheppard's Western Wind Mass is the third and last of the three settings based on this melody (the Taverner and Tye are included on The Tallis Scholars sing Tudor Church Music - Volume One, CDGIM 209). This is the shortest of them, in number of bars nearly half the length of the Taverner, involving twenty-four repetitions of the melody which are to be found in every part except the mean. This relative brevity can be explained by Sheppard's musical language, so different from that just discussed. Although there are passages which pay homage to the melismatic, rhythmically complex style of the early sixteenth century, this much more syllabic style must come from near the end of the composer's life when he, like everyone else, was influenced consciously or unconsciously by the new Protestant ideals of textual clarity. Nor is the brevity without creative impact: each movement has a drive through it which does not characterize either Tye's or Taverner's setting.

Robert White (c1538-November 1574) was arguably the leading figure in that lost generation of English composers, including Robert Parsons and William Mundy, which came to maturity between Tallis and Byrd in the third quarter of the sixteenth century. White as it were formed a school within a school, whose musical instincts were to look back to the Catholic style of Tallis's youth (a style he had missed) while putting that style to the service of Elizabeth I's Protestant Church. The result is a fascinating hybrid: the lines unwind slowly, much of the old sonority is still there, the cadences in particular can sound deliciously archaic. Yet the expressive power is more modern, more direct. There is no more thrilling example of that power than in the ‘Amen' of Exaudiat te Dominus.

The six-voice Magnificat is the most archaic-sounding of the pieces included here, making use of Taverner's choir of treble, mean, two countertenors, tenor and bass, and even dividing into a triple gimell (divided trebles, means and basses) at ‘Esurientes'. It is monumental and impressive rather than supple, in the way Regina caeli and Exaudiat te Dominus are. Another side of White's treble writing can be heard in the two settings of the Compline hymn Christe qui lux es, where the part-writing is so perfectly crafted round the chant - especially in the last verse of the fourth setting - that White seems to defy gravity.

But perhaps the most modern pieces - by which I mean most obviously caught between old and new - are the Lamentations (two sets joined together). There is in fact little pure polyphony in this music, but rather parallel movements between the parts, organized in blocks. It makes for a mesmerizing effect, and I am not alone in thinking so. The scribe who wrote the music out for the first time, added in Latin at the end: ‘Not even the words of the gloomy prophet sound so sad as the sad music of my composer.'

© 2008 Peter Phillips

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Audiophile Audition
For those newcomers to this group, suffice it to say that you will rarely find an ensemble as carefully rehearsed or skillfully prepared for the repertory they choose to engage in—simply one of the finest ever, legendary...
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Early Music Review
This collection would make a formidable weapon in the armoury of any early music evangelist.
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Musicweb International
There is such a wealth of beautiful music here, excellently performed and recorded. It comes on four very well-filled CDs offered as 2-for-1 packages. I scarcely know where to begin, except to recommend both sets in the strongest possible terms and to make them my joint Bargain of the Month.
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The Tallis Scholars directed by Peter Phillips

 

John Sheppard: Media vita TrMAATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Tessa Bonner

Mean

Caroline Trevor, Sally Dunkley

Alto

Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short, Ashley Stafford, Timothy Wilson

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Nicolas Robertson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by David Wulstan for Oxenford Imprint.

 

John Sheppard: Christe Redemptor omnium MAATB

Mean

Caroline Trevor, Sally Dunkley

Alto

Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short, Ashley Stafford, Timothy Wilson

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Nicolas Robertson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Roger Bray for Oxenford Imprint.

 

John Sheppard: Reges Tharsis TrMAATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Ruth Holton

Mean

Caroline Trevor, Sally Dunkley

Alto

Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short, Ashley Stafford, Timothy Wilson

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Nicolas Robertson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

John Sheppard: Sacris solemniis TrTrMMAATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Ruth Holton

Mean

Caroline Trevor, Sally Dunkley

Alto

Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short, Ashley Stafford, Timothy Wilson

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Nicolas Robertson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Roger Bray for Oxenford Imprint.

 

John Sheppard: In manus tuas I MAAB

Mean

Caroline Trevor, Sally Dunkley

Alto

Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short, Ashley Stafford, Timothy Wilson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

John Sheppard: In manus tuas II AATB

Alto

Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short, Ashley Stafford, Timothy Wilson

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Nicolas Robertson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

John Sheppard: In manus tuas III ATB

Alto

Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Nicolas Robertson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

John Sheppard: Verbum caro TrMAATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Tessa Bonner

Mean

Caroline Trevor, Sally Dunkley

Alto

Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short, Ashley Stafford, Timothy Wilson

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Nicolas Robertson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

John Sheppard: Western Wind Mass TrMTB

Treble

Tessa Bonner, Deborah Roberts

Mean

Sally Dunkley, Caroline Trevor

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Rufus Müller

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

Thomas Tallis: In ieiunio et fletu MAATB

Mean

Tessa Bonner, Deborah Roberts

Alto

Caroline Trevor, Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short, Adrian Hill

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Richard Edgar-Wilson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

Thomas Tallis: O salutaris hostia  TrMATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Tessa Bonner

Mean

Caroline Trevor, Sally Dunkley

Alto

Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Richard Edgar-Wilson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

Thomas Tallis: O nata lux  TrMATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Tessa Bonner

Mean

Caroline Trevor, Sally Dunkley

Alto

Robert Harre-Jones, Nigel Short

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Richard Edgar-Wilson

Bass

Donald Greig, Francis Steele

The performing edition was prepared by Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

Robert White: Magnificat TrMAATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Ruth Holton

Mean

Sally Dunkley, Ghislaine Morgan

Alto

Caroline Trevor, Robert Harre-Jones, Charles Daniels, Rufus Müller

Tenor

Tom Phillips, Robert Johnston

Bass

Francis Steele, Julian Walker

The performing edition was prepared by Sally Dunkley and used with permission.

 

Robert White: Portio mea TrMATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Ruth Holton

Mean

Sally Dunkley, Ghislaine Morgan

Alto

Caroline Trevor, Robert Harre-Jones

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Paul Agnew

Bass

Francis Steele, Julian Walker

The performing edition was prepared by Dirk Freymuth and Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

Robert White: Regina caeli AATTB

Alto

Caroline Trevor, Robert Harre-Jones, Michael Lees, Ashley Stafford

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Rufus Müller, Tom Phillips, Robert Johnston

Bass

Francis Steele, Julian Walker

The performing edition was prepared by Sarah Cobbold for Oxenford Imprint.

 

Robert White: Christe qui lux es III TrMATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Ruth Holton

Mean

Sally Dunkley, Ghislaine Morgan

Alto

Caroline Trevor, Robert Harre-Jones

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Paul Agnew

Bass

Francis Steele, Julian Walker

The performing edition was prepared by Sarah Cobbold for Oxenford Imprint.

 

Robert White: Christe qui lux es IV TrMATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Ruth Holton

Mean

Sally Dunkley, Ghislaine Morgan

Alto

Caroline Trevor, Robert Harre-Jones

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Paul Agnew

Bass

Francis Steele, Julian Walker

The performing edition was prepared by Sarah Cobbold for Oxenford Imprint.

 

Robert White: Exaudiat te Dominus MMAATTBB

Mean

Deborah Roberts, Sally Dunkley, Tessa Bonner, Rachel Platt

Alto

Caroline Trevor, Robert Harre-Jones, Michael Lees, Ashley Stafford

Tenor

Charles Daniels, Rufus Müller, Simon Davies, Richard Edgar-Wilson

Bass

Francis Steele, Julian Walker, Robert Evans, Donald Greig

The performing edition was prepared by Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

Robert White: Lamentations TrMATB

Treble

Deborah Roberts, Tessa Bonner

Mean

Sally Dunkley, Rachel Platt

Alto

Caroline Trevor, Robert Harre-Jones

Tenor

Rufus Müller, Simon Davies

Bass

Francis Steele, Donald Greig

The performing edition was prepared by Sally Dunkley and used with permission.

 

Produced by Steve C Smith and Peter Phillips for Gimell Records.

 

The recordings of music by Thomas Tallis and John Sheppard were engineered by Mike Clements except for the Western Wind Mass which was engineered by John Fredericks and Philip Hobbs. The recordings of music by Robert White were engineered by Philip Hobbs.

The painting of Jane Seymour, Queen Consort of England; third wife of Henry VIII (1491-1547) by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) is reproduced with the permission of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria and the Bridgeman Art Library.

This compilation (P) 2008 Original sound recording made by Gimell Records.
© 2008 Gimell Records

The musical editions performed in these recordings are available to download free of charge in the PDF format. Please respect the copyright notice shown on each edition.




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