ALBUM TITLE: Tallis Motets and Anthems
WORKS: Latin and English Motets & Anthems
PERFORMER: Rodolfus Choir/Ralph Allwood
CATALOGUE NO: HAVPCD 305
There are now many Tallis recordings and this one has several points in its favour. It contains, for example, a number of his most interesting works and, rather unusually, it is performed by a large choir of young voices – young enough to avoid in this music the professional habit of merely mechanical decorum spruced up with the occasional emphasis on harmonic clashes. Some of these pieces have clearly been worked at in detail: the dynamic shading in Sancte Deus is subtle and apt and
the majestic harmonic waves of
O Sacrum Convivium are exploited to the full.
This makes for some enjoyable (if not necessarily authentic) musical moments, but there are disadvantages – the precise, dark harmonic turns of In ieunio come out a little indistinctly as does the canonic writing in Misere nostri, and the long structures of Suscipe quaeso run out of momentum. The recording has an admirably natural feel to it, but there is some distortion in the louder passages uttered by this great throng of voices. Several of these pieces also appear on a recent Tallis disc by The Cardinall’s Musick (Hyperion, reviewed last issue) and that particular recording would be a safer buy, though perhaps not as heart warming. Anthony Pryer