Thomas Tallis wrote two settings of the compline hymn Te lucis ante terminum
, both of which were published in the 1575 Cantiones sacrae
. This first setting—like the second—sets only the middle of the three verses in polyphony. The treble part replicates the pitches of the pre-existent chant melody note for note (with the addition of a single ornamental leading note at the final cadence) in a lilting triple-time rhythm, and the accompanying harmonization is a model of economy and placid beauty, nowhere more so than at the delicately handled Picardian cadence at the end of the third phrase.
from notes by Jeremy Summerly © 2013