O splendor gloriae is in many ways the finest of Taverner’s large-scale antiphons. Particularly noteworthy are its clarity of texture and extensive use of imitation. So pervasive and systematic is the imitation in some passages that it led one late sixteenth-century copyist to ascribe the work jointly to Taverner and Tye, a view rejected by modern scholars on the grounds of its stylistic consistency. Another ‘progressive’ feature is the occasional repetition of text in the latter part of the piece, reflecting the gradual trend away from an abstract melismatic style towards a more directly expressive ‘Renaissance’ manner. The sectional structure, contrasting reduced ‘soloistic’ combinations with full five-part sections which exploit the high treble compass, is characteristically English in conception, and the work stands as testimony to the vocal and musical accomplishments of pre-reformation choral foundations.
from notes by John Heighway © 2000