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Magnificat - Tallis - New-Classics.co.uk


01 May 2000
New-Classics.co.uk

Tallis was one of the finest English composers of the first Elizabethan era. His spectacular motet in forty parts, Spem in alium nunquam habui, was commissioned in 1571 by Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, and Henry Fitzalan, Duke of Arundel, who owned a country house with an octagonal banquetting hall which could accomodate eight choirs, each of five voices, spread around its perimeter. In this breathtaking piece of music, the voices enter one by one and lead to a sudden, stunning entry for all eight choirs; the choirs then exchange phrases back and forth and end with a majestic 40-voice chord. On this superbly engineered SACD, the Magnificat ensemble, directed here by its founder and conductor, Philip Cave, give an inspired performance of the Spem in Alium as well as eight other Tallis masterpieces. These include a beautiful setting of the prayer Salvator mundi and a Mass for four voices. The choir was formed in 1991, taking its name from Mary's canticle in St. Luke's Gospel, the Magnificat: My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
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