Friday, July 04, 2008

It's not only all about Latin

Here is a very nice recording of Tallis's "If Ye Love Me" from the English Mass on the first day of the Sacred Music Colloquium. The composition is among the first pieces of polyphony a new choir sings in our time, but no less ingenious for its familiarity.

Joseph Sargent writes in Sacred Music (135.2) that this piece was written to respond to the edict from Edward VI that there shall be "a plain and distinct note for every syllable one: they shall sing them and none other."

I can only imagine what a composer like Tallis (!) would have said upon receiving that news from on high! Nonetheless, invention was the child of this necessity, and some marvelous music resulted, this piece as a prime example.

And speaking of English, here is the recessional from the same Mass: When Morning Gilds the Skies. Stay around for the organ postlude.

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