As the Votive Antiphon gradually went out of favour, composers and liturgists began to look around for other texts to set. The Book of Psalms (already being used by composers on the Continent) provided words to suit a variety of moods, and Psalm-motets started to appear during the 1540s. One text proved more popular than most, Psalm 15 or Domine, quis habitabit?
. Not only Tallis, but also John Sheppard, Robert Parsons, Robert White (three times), William Mundy and William Byrd also set this text which, a little like the ‘commandment anthems’, gives information about how to live a godly life. Tallis’ setting is chaste and serious and clearly shows the influence of his Flemish contemporaries—only occasionally does he allow himself the luxury of some typically rich cadences.
from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2013