The Tallis Psalter - Psalms and Anthems, Canticles, Preces and Responses
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Tudor composers coped in various ways with the Reformation, the change from Latin to English and the required changes in musical style. Thomas Tallis embraced the new style assiduously and with lasting success – hence the number of his English-texted anthems still in the repertoire of church choirs of all sizes and abilities.
This anthology has a number of uses. For the first time, Tallis’s eight psalm tunes plus ‘Ordinal’ are published with the complete texts of Parker’s metrical versions of the psalms. Spellings are modernized. The music is simple and delightful, and often familiar from current hymn tunes and in Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. These psalm tunes are followed by the five-part Preces and Responses (the only pieces here not in four parts) and the Dorian Service (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis).Throughout, the music is transposed for SATB, but the publisher’s website includes printable versions of all 22 pieces at their original notated pitch and scoring – an excellent extra resource.
For many, the biggest attraction will be the final section with new editions of Tallis’s ten surviving English anthems. From the best-known If ye love me to the lesser-known A new commandment, they are all miniature masterpieces. Stephen Patterson
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