ALBUM TITLE: Tallis – Choral Works
WORKS: Gaude gloriosa; Magnificat & Nunc dimittis a 5; Suscipe quaeso Domine; Jesu salvator saeculi; Absterge Domine; Loquebantur variis linguis; Derelinquat impius; Mihi autem nimis; O nata lux
PERFORMER: Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67548
Although we do not know exactly when Thomas Tallis was born, the chances are that 2005 is the 500th anniversary of his birth. In any case, this is a magnificent collection of his music which, in the repertorial sense, can stand alongside any of the many recently recorded anthologies of his work. The performing aspect is another matter.
The big test pieces here are the motets Gaude gloriosa (for six voices) and Suscipe quaeso (for seven). In the former piece we are treated to a nicely clear treble line pitted against some resonant but rather muddy low voices. In the latter, Tallis’s evidently greater involvement with the nuances of the text has provoked a more coherent and even dramatic performance. Neither, however, quite measures up to their rival version in Volume 3 of Alistair Dixon’s complete recording of Tallis’s works on Signum (issued in 1997). The more functional pieces, curiously, fare better: the unassuming chords of O nata lux are subtly coloured to produce an ecstatic resonance in the warmly evoked recording acoustic of the chapel of Arundel Castle.