By: Sara Ghiorzi
- With the evidence they have, experts believe that Tallis was born sometime around the year 1515 in Leicestershire, England.
- Thomas spent most of his life in London, England. More specifically, he spent nearly half a century at the Hampton Court Palace, as a gentleman of the Chapel Royal.
- Experts have no certain evidence of Tallis’s education, youth, or training. From what they have gathered, the earliest official record of his professional activity shows that he was an organist at Dover Priory in 1532.
- Around the year 1537, Thomas moved to St. Mary-at-Hill in Billingsgate, after leaving his Benedictine cloister. He then moved to the Augustinian Abbey of the Holy Cross at Waltham, where he served until 1540. Next, he became a part of the musical institution at Canterbury for two years, and then joined the gentlemen of the Chapel Royal. This was a position he held for the rest of his life. It was here that, for close to half a century, Tallis composed, sang, played, and taught music. During that time, the stylistic transition from medieval to tonal polyphony was made, and this resulted in not only many of his creations, but also the works of his student, William Byrd.
- Thomas wrote anthems, services, and other music for the Anglican rite. He composed many sacred works and oeuvres and is, in fact, known as the father of English cathedral music. Three examples of his work would include “If ye love me,” “Gaude Virgo,” and “Hear the voice and prayer of Thy Servants.”
- Research suggests that Anthony Roper was a patron for Tallis. In fact, evidence shows that, in the will of Joan Tallis (Thomas’s wife,) the first bequest is for this man. It reads, “to Anthony Roper esquier one guilte bowl with the cover there unto belonging in respect of his good favours showed to my late husband and me.” Because she used the term “good favours,” the conclusion can be made that the two men were connected through a patron/client relationship.
- Tallis compositions can be linked with secularism simply for the reason that they are anything but. He composed mainly sacred works. In fact, his few existing secular pieces cannot make up a different class, because most of them are somehow related to sacred compositions. So, the connection is made because his creations were known as being the total opposite of secular. Thomas wrote anthems, services, and other music for the Anglican rite. He composed many sacred works and oeuvres and is known as the father of English cathedral music. Idealism stresses things such as “idea over observation” and the arts of simplicity and clarity. This can be linked to Thomas’s works because clarity of harmony and word setting become more noticeable (compared to that before his time) in Tallis's creations on English texts. Through his compositions, a progression from ancient to modern style can be seen, as his anthems were much brighter and tuneful.
'If Ye Love Me'_Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585)_ Performed by UCT Choir by Create Recordings
Les Canards Chantants
Salve Intemerata Virgo (excerpt), Thomas Tallis, 1520s by Les Canards Chantants
Thomas Tallis (1505-1585) - Hear the voice and prayer (LIVE) by Byrd Ensemble
“Hear the Voice and Prayer of Thy Servants”
Bennett, John. “A Tallis Patron?”. Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle 21 (1988): 41–44. Web...
Chantants, Les Canards. Salve Intemerata Virgo (excerpt), Thomas Tallis, 1520s by Les Canards Chantants. N.p.: SoundCloud, 28 Nov. 2013.
Ensemble, Byrd. Thomas Tallis (1505-1585) - Hear the Voice and Prayer (LIVE) by Byrd Ensemble. N.p.: SoundCloud, 19 Jan. 2014.
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Recordings, Create. “If Ye Love me”_Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585)_ Performed by UCT Choir by Create Recordings. N.p.: SoundCloud, 20 Oct. 2012.
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