June 2011 Archives

The Tallis Scholars

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I went to the concert of The Tallis Scholars yesterday. Peter Phillips conducted ten marvelous singers who sang English and Spanish Renaissance music. There were four sopranos, two altos, two tenors and two basses. To my surprise, one of the altos was male, and his voice really led the beautiful harmony of the chorus.
jeremiah.jpgIn the first part, they sang English songs by William Byrd, John Sheppard, and Thomas Tallis. I actually shivered when they started singing "Lamentations Ⅰ" by Thomas Tallis. It sounded so tragic.... It reminded me of Rembrandt's JEREMIAH (The Prophet Jeremiah Mourning over the Destruction of Jerusalem) which I saw at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. However, the song was composed more than 50 years earlier than Rembrandt.
The feature of this concert was the second part, Thomas Luis de Victoria's "Requiem." They say this is the masterpiece of this most important composer of the 16th Spain. The songs were so beautiful that they sounded like music from heaven. My heart became silent while listening "Kyrie, eleison." In some other songs, tenors and basses made me feel thrilling, say, errotic. It is strange that the purest music of celibacy sometimes sounds sexual, whereas Tibetan mantras which reject any kinds of violence often sound aggressive. Perhaps they are two sides of expressing humanities, sex and violence.
They gave us an encore, "Versa est in luctum" by Alonso Lobo, the contemporary Spanish composer, too. Again I experienced a deep emotion. It was as if I caught a glimpse of a light through thick clouds. Even though I am not familiar to the chorus music, I am glad that my heart recognized the real ones.
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