Cornysh, Taverner, Tallis & Byrd

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COMPOSERS: Cornysh,Tallis & Byrd,Taverner
LABELS: Gimell
ALBUM TITLE: A Tudor Collection
WORKS: Works by Cornysh, Taverner, Tallis & Byrd
PERFORMER: Tallis Scholars
CATALOGUE NO: CDGIMB 450 DDD(1984-93)
What a prize: some of the Tallis Scholars’ best recordings of the past dozen years, in a boxed set of four composers spanning the entire Tudor period.

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It is fascinating to trace the religious affiliations of each Tudor monarch through the music: under Henrys VII and VIII, the essentially English florid style, described by John Milsom in his excellent accompanying essay, of Cornysh (disc 1) and Taverner (disc 2, also issued separately, CDGIM 995, L827); for Edward VI’s Protestant Reformers, Tallis’s simple English anthems and, under Mary, his joyful return to Catholic opulence (disc 3). Finally we enter the world of the Elizabethan Catholics’ clandestine country house Masses for which Byrd so fervently wrote (disc 4), of necessity paring down the lavish early Tudor style to a crafted classicism.

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Flexible and finely balanced performances, with richly resonant sound. Janet Banks