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Tallis: Spem in Alium, Salvator Mundi [Import]

Thomas Tallis , Peter Phillips , Tallis Scholars Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Tallis Scholars
  • Conductor: Peter Phillips
  • Composer: Thomas Tallis
  • Audio CD (June 12, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Gimell UK
  • ASIN: B00005ATCU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,233 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Spem in Alium (also set as 'Sing and glorify'), motet for 40 voices, P. 299
2. Sancte Deus, motet (antiphon) for 4 voices, P. 98
3. Salvator mundi (I) (also set as 'Arise O Lord' and 'With all our hearts'), motet for 5 voices, P. 216
4. Salvator mundi (II) (also set as 'When Jesus went'), motet for 5 voices, P. 219
5. Gaude gloriosa Dei mater, motet (antiphon) for 6 voices, P. 123
6. Miserere nostri, motet for 7 voices, P. 207
7. Loquebantur variis linguis, motet for 7 voices, P. 272

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This was the Tallis Scholars' first recording devoted to their namesake composer--and it remains one of the best Tallis discs available. Its centerpiece is the famous Spem in alium for eight five-voice choirs. This is a spectacular piece, with voices entering one by one, leading to a sudden, crashing entry for all eight choirs. The choirs then toss pealing phrases back and forth (listen with headphones!) and finish with a monumental 40-voice chord.

Other treats include the popular Pentecost motet Loquebantur variis linguis, two beautiful settings of the prayer Salvator mundi, and the 20-minute votive antiphon Gaude gloriosa, which has intricate imitative passages for three to four soloists alternating with vigorous writing for full choir. --Matthew Westphal

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb recording of music rarely heard September 20, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Whereas Dominican Friars are carolling all the way to the (charitable) bank with their recently in-vogue CD's of medieval chants juxtaposed against New Age beats, there waits the Tallis Scholars group with a more serious interpretation of this venerable church music. "Spem in alium" is a superb recording of the antiphonal choral music composed by Oxford's musical giant of times past, Thomas Tallis. Featuring a variety of his choral music for ensembles both intimate and grand, these gifted singers exemplify outstanding vocal skill, brilliant acoustic engineering (Merton College chapel, I believe), sensitive and scholarly interpretation, and (most important) historical authenticity--no Enigma beats here. For a true musical experience of this centuries-old style, head straight for the Old Guard and purchase this CD for serious appreciation.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical splendour... June 4, 2004
Format:Audio CD
--Thomas Tallis-
Thomas Tallis, born in 1505, was one of the outstanding liturgical composers of his day, being the acknowledged master of the composers of England from the time of Queen Mary's reign forward. He was a composer and Gentleman of the Chapel Royal during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth, and worked closely with many other composers, most particularly William Byrd. He was an organist in addition to composer. He died in 1585, having navigated his way through the tumultuous catholic/protestant difficulties of the church which provided his livelihood and creative outlet.
--Spem in alium--
This piece, Spem in alium numquam habui (I have no faith in any other [than God]), is Tallis' most famous piece. It is a 40-part motet, set up for eight five-part choirs. It is a masterpiece. Tallis blended the chordal with the polyphonic here, to great effect. The number of voices makes for interesting effects, particularly when done in cathedral settings. Several stories have appeared about why this work was composed, but in the end, it remains unknown.
--Other music--
Other pieces included on this disc include Tallis' Sancte Deus, one of his early works, done during the reign of Henry VIII, and two settings of Salvator mundi, salva nos. These are rather smaller pieces, particularly in comparison with Spem in alium. Gaude gloriosa is more in keeping with Spem in alium, in terms of length and phrasing. The Miserere is a seven-part technical masterpiece very close in form to traditional English canonical settings. The final piece, Loquebantur variis linguis, is a seven-voice chant.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rolling Waves of Voices July 16, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Spem in Alium was Tallis' Doctoral Thesis, and thus a piece intended to display his complete mastery of techniques in liturgical music. Though outlandish in its conception, it was not particularly innovative or experimental. However, as a forty-part motet, it's form is cerainly rare if not wholly unique. Tallis compositional idiosyncracies aside, this CD is absolutely first-rate. There are other recordings of Spem in Alium (and the other of Tallis' works on this CD) nearly as good -- but none finer. The singing is all beautifully clear and manages to be warmly emotional without being Romantic. The accoustic is superb, full and alive without being cloudy, and, like all Gimell recordings I've heard, the actual recording quality is as near to perfect as can be -- which means you hear everything in the music, but are not particulary aware of the recording as a recording. Whether or not you like early music, or liturgical music, or choral music, or English music, or any combination of them: all you have to do to be impressed and completely delighted with this CD is like music. Any kind of music. No one should be without this -- no matter what the rest of their collection consists of. A great record in every way.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a warhorse in my collection� March 24, 2002
Format:Audio CD
The Tallis Scholars recording of their namesake's "Spem in alium" is a crystal-clear, though somewhat ungenerous disc (forty-three minutes) that has become a warhorse in my musical collection.
As with all the Tallis Scholars recordings that I have heard, "Spem in Alium" is a thing of true beauty. I rank it alongside their recording of Palestrina's assumption Mass and Obrecht's Missa Maria Zart as some of their best work.
"Spem in alium" is something to hear. There are very few pieces of early music that even come close to its scope or grandeur. I suggest waiting until you are all alone in the house and then cranking the volume way up--it is the only proper way to truly drink in this music.
Yet, for as great as the grand title track is, the real jewel for me on this recording is the "Gaude gloriosa." One cannot listen to this stirring, intense music without being moved.
This program of music, though short, is very well put together. The singing is first rate. The recording captures everything perfectly. I highly recommend this CD.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By L. Webb
Format:Audio CD
I am a heavy metal "music" fan,with at times,a bit of rock,pop and soul entering the cd player/put on the venerable lp machine.My forays into classical are about as frequent as the proverbial rocking horse poo.However,this disc is the one I probably play most often.Why?Because it's beauty is unsurpassed.It is the only piece of music that has brought a tear to my eye.As someone above wrote,crank it up when the kids/breadknife/hubby are out of the house and you will be treated to sonic joy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative performance
I had generally avoided this musical period, and had been ignorant of Thomas Tallis until hearing the version of Spem in Alium on the Kronos Quartet's disc Black Angels. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Larry Benjamin
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection to Untrained Ears
I am not a learned devotee of early vocal music, but rather a casual if often enraptured listener. And rapturous is an apt adjective to apply to this disc. Read more
Published 8 months ago by J. R. Trtek
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavenly!
I can play this cd and be transported to another realm totally. Wonderful to relax at days end and before drifting off to sleep.
Published 14 months ago by louise marley
5.0 out of 5 stars Tallis: Spem in Alium
Have to admit I learned of this from 50 Shades of Grey - (was not a music major in college) but now have a new appreciation for some more-than-heavenly music. I'm hooked.
Published 19 months ago by artfairy
4.0 out of 5 stars An amazing 40th birthday present!
Totally complex 8-4-part contrpuntal piece written for Queen Elizabeth's I 40th birthday.
Alas can't get the full impact of it being sung by all 8 groups circling a cathedral... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Culprit
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 Shades of Beautiful
The music is hauntingly beautiful, reminiscent of Gregorian chant. The parts are sung beautifully and the harmonies are tight. Read more
Published 19 months ago by DeeDee
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice for moody occasions or studying
This is beautiful music beautifully done but it can easily set a mood in the background of whatever work you are doing. Read more
Published on September 13, 2012 by W. Jamison
2.0 out of 5 stars Unrecordable!
There are at least 15 recordings on the market of Thomas Tallis's 40-voice motet "Spem in Alium." I've heard perhaps half of them; this CD, recorded first in 1985, is typical. Read more
Published on March 14, 2008 by Giordano Bruno
2.0 out of 5 stars totally unbalanced
The sopranos aggressively dominate the sound (-2 stars) and the Spem is awashed in vowels (-1 star). Did you know there are 24 tenor and bass parts vs 8 soprano parts? Read more
Published on January 17, 2005 by esseyo
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Spem in Alium is just amazing!
I'm a big fan of choral music but had not really got my head around exactly how complex it could get.
Until I heard this one.
Published on March 18, 2004
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