Timothy Storey
Cathedral Music
June 2016

This is the fifth in a highly acclaimed series of recordings and is of very great interest, though one should search elsewhere in the series for Tallis’s Greatest Hits. We have here one of his earliest works, from the reign of Henry VIII; Ave, Dei Patris filia is a lengthy devotion to the Blessed Virgin, very much pre-Reformation in style. Then with the Service in the Dorian Mode, the English anthems and the tunes for Archbishop Parker’s psalter, E’en like the hunted hind and Expend, O Lord, we move to vernacular liturgy of the Protestant Edward VI when simplicity and intelligibility were the order of the day. With the first three works on the disc we find ourselves at the court of the catholic Queen Mary; Tallis has again found a new style whose tautness and economy owe something to Edward’s reign, but the layout is that of the classic late-medieval Respond, plainsong-based and with plainsong interpolations in the reprise. Andrew Carwood’s singers are among the very best in this particular field, and they sing as beautifully as ever, apart from a sense of strain in the English settings, where the top line has been assigned to the counter-tenors. This apart, I commend this CD wholeheartedly.