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Tallis:Spem in Alium
This was the Tallis Scholars' first recording devoted to their namesake composer--and it remains one of the best Tallis discs available. Its centerpiece is, of course, the famous Spem in alium for eight five-voice choirs... more »
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This was the Tallis Scholars' first recording devoted to their namesake composer--and it remains one of the best Tallis discs available. Its centerpiece is, of course, the famous Spem in alium for eight five-voice choirs. This is a spectacular piece, with voices entering one by one and leading to a sudden, crashing entry for all eight choirs; the choirs then toss pealing phrases back and forth (listen with headphones!) and finish with a monumental 40-voice chord. Other treats include the popular Pentecost motet Loquebantur variis linguis, two beautiful settings of the prayer Salvator mundi, and the 20-minute votive antiphon Gaude gloriosa, which has intricate imitative passages for three to four soloists alternating with powerful writing for full choir. --Matthew Westphal
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The Best Spem ever?
W. P. Gardner | 06/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is THE recording of Spem in Alium. It begins with an intensity that cannot possibly be maintained for the length of the piece...or so one would think..since the intensity is not only maintained, it increases as the work develops. The sopranos, far from dominating, act as teh architects of the work, leading the line and give a clear direction to the piece. This is quite simply one of the most moving pieces of music I have ever heard. Buy it."
The best choral music in the world
firstname.lastname@example.org | 06/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Spem in Alium alone is worth the price. Westphal's description of the vocal fireworks in this piece is very apt, I wouldn't venture to add anything. Just be sure you follow his advice and listen to Spem in Alium in headphones: it feels like tolling bells, with voices springing up from all directions, in various combinations. The singing of the Tallis Scholars is spectacular. The Spem in Alium choir reads like who's who in English vocals. The core group of singers participating in Spem in Alium and motets is also first rate. Even though these recordings were made in 1985, some of their participants still maintain their association with the Tallis Scholars. This just goes to quality and cohesion. I've always been particularly fond of the Tallis Scholars' treble section. These are adult women, but they truly sound like boy trebles. Their unbelievably high voices leave me breathless.P.S. Another piece in the "best choral music in the world" category is, as many will agree, Allegri Miserere. There exists a splendid recording of it by the Tallis Scholars."
Gives me the chills
W. P. Gardner | Menlo Park, CA, United States | 04/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The opening piece, Spem in Alium, gives me the chills every time I hear it. It is the kind of music that makes you gasp and forget whatever you were thinking about before you put it on. It is a 40-part motet (8 choirs of 5 voices each). I have heard other versions (there is one by the Kronos Quartet which must have involved overdubbing) but this is the strongest I have ever heard. The rest of the music is also wonderful. If you are looking for your first Thomas Tallis record, this is the one I'd choose. If you are looking for your first Tallis Scholars record, the 25th Anniversary album is probably the best buy, but this is also a good place to start. I saw the other review giving it 2 stars, complaining that the sopranos dominate; all I can say is that it must have been written by an alto who is jealous."