Tallis Scholars, conducted by Peter Phillips
Sunday, April 1, 2012 | 5:00 pm
“It’s hard to imagine any deity resisting a plea sung as gorgeously as the Tallis Scholars’ rendition of the Kyrie, their voices swelling with soulful precision in the church’s resonant acoustics.” (NY Times)
The ten singers who compose Tallis Scholars — a four-decade institution — lead the field of Renaissance choral music with unimpeachable authority and immaculate craft. No ensemble is better at vividly bringing the past to life.
In the 16th century, the retinues of King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France met in a field near Calais for a friendly show of mutual power. Cloth-of-gold tents were raised and red wine flowed from fountains. Rival choirs squared off at a majestic distance, with the French led by composer Jean Mouton and the English by William Cornysh.
In Duke Chapel, a program of divine a capella music written by Mouton and Cornysh proves yet again why the Tallis — with resplendent singing and incomparable erudition — continues to be the gold standard for sacred polyphony.
JEAN MOUTON: Nesciens Mater
WILLIAM CORNYSH: Ave Maria
MOUTON: Ave Maria
MOUTON: Quaeramus Cum Pastoribus
JOHN BROWNE: Salve Regina
MOUTON: “Kyrie” and “Agnus Dei” from the Missa “Dictes moy toutes vos pensées”
MOUTON: Salva Nos
CORNYSH: Ah, Robin
CORNYSH: Woefully Arrayed