The Cardinall’s Musick, Andrew Carwood – Thomas Tallis Lamentations and Other Sacred Music (2016)

Thomas Tallis: Lamentations and Other Sacred Music (2016)
The Cardinall’s Musick, Andrew Carwood, director

EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 325 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 171 Mb | Artwork included
Classical, Choral, Sacred | Label: Hyperion | # CDA68121 | Time: 01:13:09

Ten English composers set the Latin text of the Lamentations of Jeremiah in the mid-16th century, in the reigns both of the Catholic Queen Mary and the Protestant Elizabeth I. Precise details are hard to establish of when works were performed, as Andrew Carwood explains in an illuminating note to this disc, but there seems little doubt that Tallis, though a Catholic, wrote his masterpiece for Elizabeth. The repeated final lines, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, turn to the Lord your God", unforgettable once heard, have a dark resonance here, thanks to the sonorous basses of the Cardinall’s Musick (Robert Macdonald, Simon Whiteley). The rest of this fine recording draws on music from across Tallis’s career, with English and Latin settings (Sancte Deus, Te Deum, Come, Holy Ghost and more). The singers reach the highest standards.

Enthusiasts of Renaissance choral polyphony may debate various aspects of this release and others in the Thomas Tallis series by The Cardinall’s Musick and director Andrew Carwood. The two-voice-per-part choir configuration is not to everyone’s taste, with some preferring a single-voice madrigal-like texture and others a sound rooted in the long English choral tradition. The mix of pieces on this volume, which veers from English-language anthems to Anglican service music to somber Latin pieces (mostly written, nevertheless, for the Protestant Elizabeth I); some might rather have music more closely linked to its original setting and function. The singers’ judicious use of vibrato might be too much for some, too little for others. About the basic musicality of the program’s central music, however, there ought to be very little dispute: the two sets of Lamentations of Jeremiah at the beginning are extraordinarily powerful. The ornate settings of the Hebrew initial letters ("Aleph," Beth") and the broader passages toward the end of each Lamentation are handled with a rare combination of emotion and iron control by the singers, and the experience of hearing these dark, low-register works is gripping. By the time they’re over with, the more compact pieces on the remainder of the program will come as a kind of relief. Superbly resonant, acoustically appropriate sound from Fitzalan Chapel at Arundel Castle adds to the power of the music. Highly recommended.


01. Lamentations of Jeremiah I (8:29)
02. Lamentations of Jeremiah II (12:47)
03. In pace, in idipsum (6:45)
04. Short Service ‘Dorian’ – Communion setting 1. Commandment Responses (1:14)
05. Short Service ‘Dorian’ – Communion setting 2. Credo (3:39)
06. Not every one that saith unto me (0:50)
07. Short Service ‘Dorian’ – Communion setting 3. Sanctus (0:41)
08. Short Service ‘Dorian’ – Communion setting 4. Gloria (2:08)
09. Solemnis urgebat dies (4:57)
10. Sancte Deus (6:16)
11. Dum transisset Sabbatum (7:41)
12. 9 Psalm Tunes – No.7 Why brag’st in malice high (3:27)
13. Salvator mundi I (2:51)
14. Te Deum ‘for meanes’ (8:58)
15. 9 Psalm Tunes – No.9 Come, Holy Ghost (2:26)

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