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SIG 042
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SIG 042
(this is a multiple CD album sold separately)

Tallis - The Complete Works - Volume 9

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2007

Originally recorded in 2007


Charivari Agréable


St Andrews Church, Toddington, Gloucestershire

13-15 May 2004

Fenton House, Hampstead

2 Aug 2004

Chapel, Knole House

23-24 May 1999


Alistair Dixon

Adrian Hunter

Mike Hatch

Floating Earth


Mike Hatch

Adrian Hunter

Simon Eadon

Floating Earth

Record Label




Total Time - 101:43
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Select Complete Single Disc for
  The Complete Works - Volume 9  

In nomine I (a)


In nomine II (a)


A Solfing Song (a)


Salvator Mundi (trio) (a)


Fantasia (a)


Felix namque II (b)


Felix namque I (c)


When shall my sorrowful sighing slack (d)


Like as the doleful dove (d)


O ye tender babes (c)


Purge me, O Lord (d)


Per haec nos (c)


A Point (c)


Lesson: two partes in one (d)


Remember not, O Lord God (d)


Per haec nos (e)


A Point (e)


Lesson: two partes in one (e)


Tu nimirum (b, f)


When shall my sorrowful sighing slack (b, f)


Like as the doleful dove (b, f)


O ye tender babes (b, f)


Ye sacred muses (Byrd) (a, f)


Select Complete Single Disc for

Litany (g)


Verset I (e)


Verset II (e)


Felix namque I (e)


Signum Records are delighted to present the final volume of The Complete Works of Thomas Tallis.

The final release explores the most obscure and enigmatic corner of Tallis’s output – his secular music. His profession as church musician and member of the Chapel Royal did not require him to write secular songs or pieces, yet some works may have been written for the Tudor court. Other works are thought to have been written for generations of choir boys, who were assisted with their training by the composer. Plays and performances outside of the choirboy’s obligation were popular, as well as instrumental consort music and keyboard pieces associated with their training. Tallis is likely to have been given the opportunity to write his secular works for these occasions.

Tallis’s music was admired and used by others far beyond the Chapel Royal and the court. Some of his intended sacred choral works are included on this recording in other guises, arranged by musicians with performance intentions very different to that of the church. His reputation of greatness amongst his friends and contemporaries is reflected in William Byrd’s elegy Ye sacred muses, where he echoes the sentiments of others with the words "Tallis is dead, and Music dies". This musical tribute has justifiably become one of Byrd’s most popular works.

Volume 9 of The Complete Works is a double CD release, marking the end of this popular series. Alistair Dixon has realised the project, and directed his choir Chapelle du Roi throughout the earlier volumes. Musicians featured on this final disc are: Andrew Benson-Williams (organ), Laurence Cummings (virginals), the ensemble Charivari Agréable, Lynda Sayce (lute), and Stephen Taylor (counter tenor)

"Volume 9 completes the ambitious ’complete works’ project by Chapelle du Roi. That it is the last recording in the series explains both the slightly eclectic programme and the fact that the second disc in the two-CD set is barely 27 minutes long. Nonetheless, it provides a successful conclusion to the series, containing a good deal of previously unrecorded music. Among the gems are reconstructions of two untexted pieces which later formed the basis for three well-known motes: Salvator mundi (II), O sacrum convivium and Absterge Domine; there are also some fine keyboard works, a handful of charming reconstructed lute songs, and a peculiarly difficult lute arrangement of the keyboard piece Felix Namque (II). All this is executed skilfully by a fine line-up of performers; Chapelle du Roi appear just once, for the simple but effective five-part litany which was left out of volume 6; it is good to have a decent recording of this."

Matthew O’Donovan 

Early Music Today - October/November 2005

                             Performance ****            Sound *****
"This final volume in this splendid series of recordings comprises Tallis’s consort music, keyboard works, songs for choirboy plays and his various studies in counterpoint. Moreover, on a bonus disc we have some litany music (settings of prayers) that, for reasons of space, could not be included in Vol. 6, plus three organ works, all of them nicely played by Andrew Benson–Wilson on the wonderfully evocative instrument at Knole House near Sevenoaks in Kent.

The consort music is presented in alert and assured style by the viol players of Charivari Agreable, and even in the rather odd Salvator mundi they do not quite lose their poise. The keyboard section begins bizarrely, with a fiendishly difficult lute transcription of Felix namque II, rather than the keyboard version itself (heard in volume 5). Such is Lynda Sayce’s struggle to overcome its difficulties that this fascinating work seems to emerge as music only fitfully and gradually. Laurence Cummings, by contrast, brings sometimes pedestrian music wonderfully to life by his resourceful interpretations; his delicately textured account of the ‘study’ Per haec nos, his rhetorical presentation of Remember not and his narrative style in Like as the doleful dove are all exemplary. In the delightful songs that bring the disc to a close the long phrases sometimes defeat the breath control of the singer, but in the final track Byrd’s lament on Tallis’s death brings voice and viols together in transporting harmonies."

Anthony Pryer

BBC Music Magazine

"Limber up for Tallis year – 2005 marks the 500th anniversary of his birth – with this final volume in Signum’s unprecedented ‘complete works’ cycle. There’s much to delight in this clever programme of chamber works and songs, off the beaten track from his favourite anthems.

‘A collection of delights brings this important series to a splendid close’

This final volume of the Complete Works gathers together music for viol consort, virginals, harpsichord, lute and organ, and a small selection of solo songs with lute accompaniment. Certain items, in new guises or saved from oblivion but the ingenious and painstaking efforts of various efforts of various editors, appear for the first time. Particularly noteworthy is the intricate lute version of Felix namque from the early tablature of Matthew Holmes. The technical problems encountered led the editor to wonder whether Holmes had intended it for the lute-like opharion.

John Milsom’s brilliant booklet-notes throw light on aspects of the life and training of the Chapel Royal choristers; it was customary for choristers to study instruments, viols for example, at St Paul’s, or keyboard instruments at Notre-Dame in Paris. Were those keyboard pieces, built like the In Nomine around a cantus firmus, composed perhaps, for didactic purposes? And what about arrangements derived from choral works? The Lesson: Two partes in one, as well as A poynte, must surely have been intended for teaching.

Apart from its intriguing historical aspects, this recording is a collection of delights, with its many varied timbres, including the smooth sound of Stephen Taylor’s countertenor voice. Indeed, that voice concludes the disc and the series, most appropriately, with Byrd’s elegy for his friend and teacher ‘Tallis is dead. and music dies’."

Mary Berry

Gramophone - December 2004

"With the issue of this double CD, we reach the triumphant conclusion of one of the most fascinating and enjoyable complete works projects of recent times. From the appearance of the first disc back in 1997 featuring a specially commissioned portrait of Tallis, it was clear that this was going to be a thorough exercise, but it has turned out to be so much more. While the earlier discs featured largely choral music superbly sung by the Chapelle du Roi, this final instalment is by necessity a bit of a rag-bag of smaller secular and largely instrumental pieces. With that same thoroughness which has distinguished the earlier recordings, no stone is left unturned, and even works with only tenuous ascriptions to Tallis are included. As this has necessitated the inclusion of a supplementary disc, it must have been tempting to forget about some of these dubious pieces, but instead Signum has made a virtue of a necessity and included four works recorded in association with volumes 5 and 6, but which couldn’t be incorporated at that stage. This allows the lovely Knole Chapel organ and the Chapelle du Roi to take a well-deserved final bow. The latter sing an alternatim Litany for the reformed liturgy, while Andrew Benson-Wilson on the former provides performances of the first setting of Felix namque and two charming versets of doubtful authorship. While its late inclusion means we have no text for the Litany, the clear enunciation of the choir permits full enjoyment. The main disc is equally satisfying, with some lovely viol playing from Charivari Agréable, mellow but with a crisp bite which clearly delineates Tallis interweaving lines. Laurence Cumming’s choice of a domestic acoustic for the virginal and harpsichord pieces gives them a pleasing intimacy - the choice of appropriate acoustics has been a consistent virtue of this series - and Lucy Sayce s impressive tour-de-force reading of the lute transcription by Matthew Holmes of Tallis Felix namque I is a treat. The disc concludes with a string of lute songs, featuring the expressive alto voice of Chapelle du Roi member Stephen Taylor. These concluding discs proves as thoroughly enjoyable as the others in the series, and if you haven t already invested in them all, I can only thoroughly recommend that you do so!"

D James Ross

Early Music Forum of Scotland - 19 October 2004

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