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Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585)
The Complete Works - Volume 2. Music at the Reformation

Magnificat (5vv) [10.06]
Nunc dimittis (5vv) [3.12]
Sancte Deus, sancte fortis - Votive antiphon (4vv) [5.58]
Conditor Kyrie - Plainchant [2.24]
Mass for four voices [22.05]
Remember not, O Lord God - Anthem (4vv) [3.11]
Hear the voice and prayer - Anthem (4vv) [2.13]
If ye love me - Anthem (4vv) [2.13]
A new commandment - Anthem (4vv) [2.50]
Benedictus (4vv) [6.25]
Te deum for meanes (5vv) [8.55]
Chapelle du Roi/Alistair Dixon
Recorded in St. Augustineís Church, Kilburn on 10-13 February 1997
SIGNUM SIGCD002 [70.32]

Volume 2 of the Tallis complete works follows the successful format of its predecessor. Here the selection features better known music and there is greater competition on disc. The anthems in particular are available on disc from the Tallis Scholars (Gimell CDGIM007) at full price. This is relevant in that if one takes the trouble to use the card in this disc to request a mailing from Signum Records, one can purchase all this series direct from them at £7.99 per disc - a considerable saving, particularly for performances such as these.
The high standard of singing and interpretation is continued throughout these pieces, and together with the most informative booklet this is a document to be treasured. The omission on the last disc of voice parts has been rectified and again translations of all pieces are provided in Latin, English, French and German. The anthems are possibly the most well known, and are performed by menís voices, with an alto taking the upper part. These are all smoothly and tastefully sung, with the false relations obvious without being overly pointed. In the other pieces, boyish female voices are employed to effect.
The dates of many of the items are uncertain, particularly given the upheaval and changing patterns of religion. From 1530-1570 dominance moved from early protestantism to a return to Catholicism under Mary, and then again to the protestant faith under Elizabeth. It is thus intriguing to sample Latin texts and a Mass, interspersed with English anthems (the latter probably dating around 1570). The Latin mass and antiphons are probably much earlier - around 1540. The mass is preceded by a plainchant Kyrie which in the Latin rite was sung on major feast days.
I have not heard all the Tallis Scholars disc, but comparing those pieces which I am able, the Chapelle du Roi acquit themselves in excellent fashion; if one takes advantage of the price reduction obtainable from Signum Records, this becomes a real bargain.

John Portwood

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