Andrew Carwood Conducts Tallis: Ave Dei Patris Filia

Sung by The Cardinall’s Musick.

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COMPOSERS: Tallis
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Tallis: Ave Dei Patris Filia
WORKS: Ave, Dei patris filia; Honor, virtus et Potestas; Candidi facti sunt; Homo quidam fecit cenam magnam; Christ rising again; Litany; The Lord be with you; Te Deum, etc
PERFORMER: The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 68095

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The Cardinall’s Musick must have produced half a dozen discs of music by Tallis by now, though it is unclear whether they are going to compete with Alistair Dixon and the Chapelle du Roi who issued a box-set of his complete works in 2011 on Brilliant Classics. What we have here are some of Tallis’s earliest pieces in Latin, mixed with service music from the reformed English liturgy – works that reflect the traumatic upheavals and reversals of church life in England in the 16th century. 

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The fairly simple settings of the prayers, canticles and psalms are daily meat and drink to Andrew Carwood who is director of music at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Naturally, the execution and control is eminently professional, though some of the extremely long lines of text in E’en like the hunted hind (Psalm 42) occasionally seem to surprise the ensemble, and in the Te Deum the singing slightly bulldozes across the complex punctuation of the text. The jewel in this collection is the glorious Ave, Dei patris filia, with missing parts newly reconstructed by David Allinson. Its successive verses employ different combinations of voices, and the whole gives a clear indication of just how good Tallis (and this ensemble) can be. One of the better-known works on the disc is Christ rising: they sing it at a lower pitch than the Chapelle du Roi/Dixon performance and this seems to drain energy from the music. In general, however, a commendable recording both musicality and acoustically. Anthony Pryer