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Hyperion Records

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The Queen Mary Atlas (c1555-1558) by Diogo Homem (1521-1576)
© The British Library Board / Add. 5415 A, ff.9v-10
Track(s) taken from CDA68026
Recording details: February 2013
Fitzalan Chapel, Arundel Castle, United Kingdom
Produced by Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
Engineered by Martin Haskell & Iestyn Rees
Release date: March 2014
Total duration: 6 minutes 1 seconds

'Tallis's Christmas Mass … is sung here with customary perfection by The Cardinall's Musick, who polish other Tallis gems alongside it, most notably Videte miraculum, a work of such sensuous beauty it quite eclipses the Mass' (The Observer)

'The new recording rivals the best of those available: it’s Hyperion’s Recording of the Month for March 2014 and it’s mine, too … the opening work on the new recording, Salvator mundi, Domine, from Compline, shows polyphony arising from the plainsong opening like an organic growth. It’s important that the transition should seem like moving from one world to another, yet appear to be seamless, and this The Cardinall’s Musick achieve to perfection. The scene is set for another CD to match the high quality of its two predecessors' (MusicWeb International) » More

'L'approche de Carwood est rhétorique : franche accentuation du texte dans des tempos allants, voix et lignes plus individualisées et sonorité moins ronde. L'influence de Pro Cantione Antiqua, revendiquée par Carwood, est évidente … il faudra suivre de près cette nouvelle traversée de l'univers de Thomas Tallis' (Diapason, France) » More

First line:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
author of text
Luke 1: 68-79

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Tallis’ setting of the Benedictus, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel’, is a stand-alone setting of the text instructed to be sung at the Morning Office of Mattins in Cranmer’s new Prayer Book. It is scored for lower voices and is a wonderful example of how Tallis can take a very restricted style of writing, one which is essentially quite plain, and turn out a minor masterpiece. The use of divided tenors and basses gives a warm sonority and there is a judicious amount of imitation at the beginning of some sections contrasted with greater textual clarity through homophonic writing at the start of others. Tallis allows himself a little textual repetition at the very end (the words ‘and ever shall be’, before the final ‘Amen’) but otherwise adheres to Cranmer’s advice over text-setting. William Byrd, Tallis’ pupil and friend, thought highly enough of this piece to re-use the melody of ‘which hath been since the world began’ in his Great Service some decades later.

from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2014

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