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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you've never heard of Thomas Tallis, then you've missed out., 24 Dec 2007
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This review is from: The Tallis Scholars sing Thomas Tallis / Spem In Alium (Audio CD)
Let's put Thomas Tallis in context. He was born a few years before Henry 8th (him of the six wives) became King. He died half way through the reign of Elizabeth 1st (her of the Spanish Armada). On this disc is the music of almost FIVE HUNDRED years ago - contemporary with "Greensleeves". This is as long BEFORE Mozart as we are AFTER.

You might be forgiven for thinking that the music of this era would be simple, unsophisticated stuff - in other words, rather like "Greensleeves" - but you are WRONG.

What you will find on this disc are choral works of astonishing complexity and masterful vision. Thomas Tallis was, without doubt, one of the towering figures of musical history. OK - the style is definitely "of its era", but what can you expect? You cannot listen to the music of almost 500 years ago and expect it to sound modern. It doesn't.

What it DOES sound, however, is breath-taking with contrapuntal harmony that bewilders the ear and mind. The piece I personally believe to be Tallis's masterwork, his motet in 40 parts "Spem in Alium", is the first track on the first disc. It weaves astonishing tonalities that have never been surpassed since.

If you buy this disc for nothing else, buy it for Spem in Alium.
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