Thomas Tallis, Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly - Spem In Alium

Published Saturday 2nd July 2005
Thomas Tallis, Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly - Spem In Alium
Thomas Tallis, Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly - Spem In Alium

STYLE: Choral
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Naxos 8557770
RRP: £4.99

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

We know that Thomas Tallis died in 1585 but are uncertain as to his year of birth. 1505 seems reasonable and so this excellent disc can commemorate the 500th anniversary of his birth. 2005 is also the 21st anniversary of the Oxford Camerata, which has almost become the early music house choir for Naxos. For this recording old members returned to add the numbers needed for the eight choirs in the 40-part motet "Spem In Alium". This masterpiece dwarfs any other English work of the period although, in a different way, the second piece on this CD, "Salve Intemerata" is as awe-inspiring. This was written when Tallis was younger and is one of the longest single movements of the 16th century. We also get a Latin Mass and three English songs that show just how versatile and assured Tallis was. If you read Summerly's interesting notes in the booklet you will discover what a remarkable man Tallis was. In addition you will be given a free disc to celebrate the 18th birthday of the Naxos label. This contains more than an hour of "early sacred classics" from 11 different composers plus our old friends "Anonymous" and "Traditional" making it a superb starting point for anyone new to this genre.

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