An Appreciation
Comment 1

Thomas Tallis…

Thomas Tallis was an English Renaissance composer who lived from c1505-1585.
We think…

We don’t really know – nor do we know much about his much younger student William Byrd.
Between the two men, English music was elevated to new heights, from which a lot of what we have now has descended.
And yet no one seems inclined to question their authorship, like they do that of another prominent English artist from the around same time frame, and the same geographical locale – whom we also know little to nothing about – whose birthday we traditionally celebrate on this date.

As far as the A to Z Challenge and Shakespeare’s birthday lining up…
Missed it by that much…

But I digress…

Still…
The notion that Christopher Marlowe wrote the Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet seems rather ridiculous, when you come right down to it… 

Tallis was Roman Catholic, and survived the turmoils of being a composer at court during the reign of four different monarchs, all of which had their own ideas about what constituted the one ‘true’ religion – as well as what pits of hell those who disagreed with them should be consigned to.

The fact he could live in such a charged environment, much less prosper in it, may speak volumes as to why we have any of his music at all. That he and Byrd, both staunch RC, were given exclusive rights to print music and the paper it was printed on, rights granted to them by Queen Elizabeth, shows they were adept at navigating the turbulent waters of the times – tides which consumed so many others… like various royals such as Lady Jane Grey.

The Fantasia in the video above is written for three separate groups of string instruments, ideally separated from each other in order to give the music the antiphonal sound Vaughn Williams envisioned.
The one group is a full string orchestra.
The second group consists of two players per instrument, or what is known as a ‘desk’ or ‘stand’ per written part.
The third group is a string quartet.

I’ll let you decide which group is too large, which group is too small, and which group is just right…

Image found here.

 

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