Ivan March
The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs

Most, and possibly all, the music here dates from the 1540s and reflects the remarkable diversity of musical response that came directly from the profound change in reformed religious procedures which developed in England within a single decade. Tallis himself joined the new, non-monastic cathedral choir at Canterbury in 1540, and went on to become a lay Gentleman of the Chapel Royal (almost certainly working immediately as a composer) in 1543/4. Much liturgical music was still sung in Latin, notably the splendid ‘Magnificat’ and the deeply felt ‘Sancte Deus’, but already there are settings in English, including three fine early anthems, an extended English ‘Benedictus’ and a remarkable five-part ‘Te Deum’, all very different from the music on Volume I of this series. The surprisingly homophonic setting of the Latin ‘Mass’ is forward-looking too, and very telling. The ‘Angus Dei’ is most beautiful. ‘If ye love me’ resourcefully alternates chordal and imitative section. The sheer variety of the music here is remarkable and makes a stimulating second volume in this distinguished series.