In his setting of the Easter respond Dum transisset Sabbatum
Taverner only composed polyphony for those portions of the chant which were sung by the full choir. In this he reversed the hitherto normal procedure for respond settings, and was perhaps reflecting the fact that at a richly endowed foundation like Cardinal College the entire choral body was skilled in the singing of polyphony. In common with Taverner’s other responds, the plainsong is sung in notes of equal value in one voice, in this case the tenor. The resultant ‘scaffolding’ creates a regular harmonic rhythm within which the other four voices combine in counterpoint which features a significant amount of imitation for this type of composition, suggesting that it is a comparatively late work.
from notes by John Heighway © 2000