TALLIS & PARSONS: Var. works – The Cardinall’s Musick/ Andrew Carwood – Hyperion

The excellence continues, serving a composer of tremendous value.

TALLIS: Honor, Virtus et Potestas; Candidi Facti Sunt; Homo quidam fecit cenam magnam; Ave Dei patris filia; Christ Rising Again; Litany; The Lord be with you; Benedictus (Blessed be the Lord God of Israel); Te Deum; Expend, O Lord; E’en like the hunted hind; Venite; O Lord, open thou our lips; PARSONS: Out from the deep – The Cardinall’s Musick/ Andrew Carwood – Hyperion CDA68095, 71:58 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:

This is the fifth of six (so far) recordings by Carwood’s Cardinall’s Musick of the music of Thomas Tallis, a pivotal figure in English music who straddled the religious divide according to who was in office at the time. As such, his music was performed for Henry VIII, Edward VI (1547–1553), Queen Mary (1553–1558), and Queen Elizabeth I. He remained all his life, as did William Byrd, an “unreformed Catholic”, but had a wonderful adaptability in style and intent that served his masters—or mistresses—very well indeed.

Tallis also had a varied and elongated sense of stylistic appropriateness that enabled him to bend and sway whichever direction the wind was blowing, and he did so with complete commitment and artistic integrity. His impact during the time was so great that he and Byrd, despite their religious coloring, were given a 21-year monopoly to produce polyphonic music with a patent to print and publish. Queen Mary gave the composer a lease on a manor in Kent that provided a comfortable annual income. Life was generally good to the composer, a founding stone of English music.

This recording continues the exceptionally high standards found on the others, and one looks persistently for the next release.

—Steven Ritter

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