D. James Ross
Early Music Scotland
March 2004

Volume seven of Signum's projected complete works of Tallis takes us into the golden age of the reign of Elizabeth I and concentrates on his settings of Latin texts. Alongside such extremely familiar material as O nata lux, O sacrum convivium and the two settings of Salvator mundi, we have underperformed gems such as the canonic and very continental sounding seven-part setting of the Miserere and a very tuneful and very English sounding setting of the psalm Domine, quis habitabit. In the interests of completeness two of the works, In ieiunio et fletu and Absterge Domine are performed at high and low pitch, in the case of the latter piece using one of the surviving contrafacta. We have become accustomed to an exceptionally high standard of singing in this series, and the present recording is no exception. The low pitch performances show off the men's voices to impressive advantage, while the higher pitch pieces yet again demonstrate the strength and purity of the ladies' voices. The crowning splendour is a magisterial Spem in alium, of which we have already had a foretaste when it appeared on an earlier release coupled with its contrafactum Sing and glorify. Listening to it in the context of Tallis' other contemporary settings of Latin texts makes it all the more enjoyable and it provides a breath-taking climax to the present recording, The Tallis complete works is one of the most exciting projects currently underway on any early music label, and Signum are to be warmly congratulated on the inspiring results. Thoroughly recommended.