Tallis Consort


O quam gloriosum (O how glorious)

Christe qui lux es et dies (Christ, the light and day)

Christus factus est (Christ was made for us)

O Sapientia (Advent Antiphon-O Wisdom)

Psallite Deo nostro (Praise God with gladness)

O magnum mysterium (O great mystery)

Our Father

Our Father

Our Father

Our Father

Pater Noster

Unser Vater

Otche nash

Our Father

Our Father

Amen (from ‘Lo, the full final sacrifice’)

When to the temple Mary went

Dormi Jesu (Cradle Hymn-Sleep, Jesus)

A boy was born

The little road to Bethlehem

I wonder as I wander-Solo-Emma Christian

Infant holy, Infant lowly-Solo-Emma Christian

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day


William Byrd 1540-1623

William Byrd 1540-1623

Felice Anerio c1560-1614

Robert Ramsey c1590-1644

J S Bach 1685-1750

Morten Lauridsen b1943


Robert Stone 1516-1613

John Farmer c1570-fl.1601

John Sheppard c1515-1560

William Parsons fl.1545-1563

Arnoldus de Bruck c1500-1554

Heinrich Schutz 1585-1672

Antony Arensky 1861-1906

Bernard Rose 1916-1996

Kenneth Leighton 1929-1956

Gerald Finzi 1901-1956


Oikan ayns Bethlehem sung by Emma Christian

Johannes Eccard 1553-1611

Edmund Rubbra 1901-1986

Benjamin Britten 1913-1976

Michael Head 1900-1976

John Jacob Niles 1892-1980

Trad. Latvian Song - arr.in English-BDH

arr.David Willcocks b1919

Today’s Concert is unusual, divided as it is into three parts, with two short breaks, to take account of the contrasting nature of music we are singing.

The first section starts with two pieces by Byrd, O quam gloriosum, a five-part contrapuntal Latin motet, followed by Christe qui lux, another five-part piece, though in block harmony, where the Plainsong melody, sung at the start, works its way steadily up through the voices, ending with the top soprano part in the final verse. Anerio was a contemporary of Byrd, though from the Italian tradition, and this lovely four-part piece moves from a sinuous quadruple time into a lively triple dance section before returning to four time to finish. Robert Ramsey, a Jacobean composer, sets these Latin words, O Sapientia, with a mixture of block harmony and imitation, and explores some more adventurous tonality. We move forward a century to Bach’s joyful chorus from his Magnificat, in which the Basses start with the melody that is then woven into a five part fugue, as each part joins the texture. We end the first section with a setting of O magnum Mysterium, words that have resonated in the church for centuries, by Morten Lauridsen, a contemporary American composer – full of evocative harmonies and wide dynamics, and ending quietly in eight parts.

The second section consists of nine settings of The Lord’s Prayer – and yet there are more contrasts of style, period and languages than are normally found in a whole concert. Starting with Robert Stone, a Tudor setting in simple, yet flowing harmony, there are three more English settings from the period, though the English words are surprisingly different in each piece. Next a Latin mid-17th Century five-part setting by de Bruck, and staying in the period, a more complex German setting by Schutz. Otche nash by Arensky, is a late 19th Century Russian setting, and ends with an Orthodox Church Bass Cantor before the final Amen. The last two settings of Pater Noster are from today’s standard Cathedral repertoire – by Rose and Leighton – and the section concludes with a beautiful eight-part Amen, by Finzi.

We look forward to Christmas in the final section, but not before we meet two Manx Treasures, Oikan ayns Bethlehem and Emma Christian, the song and the singer – we are so pleased that Emma has joined us again – her singing takes us to a very special place. We return to the late 16th Century for Eccard’s gentle six-part setting When to the temple – two verses translated from the original German - before a final sequence of Carols by Rubbra, Britten and Michael Head (sadly, no relation of today’s Musical Director). Then two Carols, in which Emma will join us as Guest Soloist - I wonder as I wander, and Infant Holy, set to an evocative Latvian melody which played a hugely important part in the darkest days of Soviet Occupation, keeping the Nation’s spirits alive when it was sung in Latvian spontaneously at huge outdoor gatherings in National Dress, very much against Soviet orders. The concert moves to a cheerful end with Tomorrow shall be my Dancing Day – a setting that has the rhythmic bite and humour that should send us all on our way – Rejoicing !


The Tallis Consort’s 2014 Advent Recitals took place at Castletown Methodist Church on 6th December and at St Mary’s Church, Douglas on 8th December.   The full programme and notes are set out below.