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Tallis and Gombert

Peter Phillips shares his lifelong passion for Renaissance vocal music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers: Thomas Tallis and Nicolas Gombert.

Peter Phillips continues his six-part series celebrating the Glory of Polyphony.

Polyphony (literally, 'many sounds') reached its peak in choral music during the historic Renaissance period. Peter Phillips first discovered its magnificent sound world at the age of 16 and ever since has devoted his life to performing and recording it. He even formed his record label and choir -The Tallis Scholars - to share the music with others. In each programme in this series, Peter will share his knowledge of and passion for Renaissance choral music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers. He'll showcase their unique styles against the social backdrops of the late 15th to early 17th centuries by telling some of their personal stories and explaining the original purpose of the music. He'll also explore the music's meditative qualities and its power to affect worshippers and audiences past and present.

In this fourth programme, Peter will delve into the lives and works of two very contrasting musicians: Thomas Tallis and Nicolas Gombert

Both composers were forced to meet the demands of the church in the background of an ever-changing political world. The Reformation and Counter-Reformation affected almost their every musical move. In many ways their music is very similar - melodic, emotive and impassioned, but their lives were far from comparable. Gombert travelled through Europe with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V until he was accused of sexual misconduct and sentenced to hard labour. Tallis spent almost his entire career in the service of four English monarchs, adapting his sacred music and the language in which it was written, every time there was a change on the throne.

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32 minutes

Music Played

  • Nicolas Gombert

    Lugebat David Absalon

    Choir: Sansara.
  • Nicolas Gombert

    Media Vita

    Choir: Trinity Choir.
  • Nicolas Gombert

    Magnificat Primi Toni

    Choir: Tallis Scholars.
  • Nicolas Gombert

    Magnificat Secundi Toni

    Choir: Tallis Scholars.
  • Nicolas Gombert

    Magnificat Sexti Toni

    Choir: Tallis Scholars.
  • Thomas Tallis

    Miserere Nostri

    Choir: Alamire. Conductor: David Skinner.
  • Thomas Tallis

    If Ye Love Me

    Ensemble: Theatre of Voices. Singer: Paul Hillier.
  • Thomas Tallis

    In Jejunio Et Fletu

    Ensemble: Taverner Consort. Conductor: Andrew Parrott.
  • Thomas Tallis

    Gaude Gloriosa Dei Mater

    Choir: Tallis Scholars.
  • Thomas Tallis

    Spem In Alium For 40 Voices

    Choir: Tallis Scholars. Conductor: Philip Cave.

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