© Zani-Casadio

The best of English choirs

Concert for the 50th foundation anniversary of The Tallis Scholars 
The Tallis Scholars
Peter Phillips conductor

Gregorian chant

Josquin Desprez
Missa Une mousse de Biscaye (Kyrie and Gloria)
Veni sancte spiritus

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Surge amica mea
Ecce tu pulcher es

Josquin Desprez
Missa Une mousse de Biscaye (Credo, Sanctus, and Benedictus)
Stabat mater

William Byrd
Laetentur caeli
Ave verum

Josquin Desprez
Missa Une mousse de Biscaye (Agnus Dei)

The ensemble named after the English composer Thomas Tallis, founded and directed by Peter Phillips, whose interpretations of Renaissance vocal polyphony are notable for their brilliant clarity, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Tallis have chosen an early work by Josquin Desprez, the Mass based on the secular melody Une mousse de Biscaye, a dialogue between a young Frenchman and his Basque-speaking lover. The mass is unusual for its ambiguous modal structure and for its dissonances, which are resolved in an unusual way: this may be due to the young composer’s inexperience, but it produces vocal dynamics of great effect. The programme also includes some crystalline motets by Palestrina and William Byrd, a pupil of Tallis, whose Vigilate clearly borrows from the Italian madrigal tradition.

The Text
The Programme