This masterly recording marking the 500th anniversary of Renaissance composer Thomas Tallis recently spiraled up in the charts because of the mention of his astonishing 40-voice motet Spem in alium in the novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The 25 selections also include the sumptuous six-voice antiphon Gaude gloriosa from Mary Tudor's reign and the four-part Anglican pieces If ye love me and Hear the voice and prayer, both the epitome of the early English anthem. Other works include two Lamentations settings and the splendid early masterpiece Salve intemerata.
"Ever since their first record … Phillips and the Tallis Scholars have devoted much of their best music-making to the works of Tallis himself…. The spate of Tallis records issued over the past few decades has propelled him into the position of a composer whose every note can be treasured as an important and vibrant component of our musical heritage. He may have left far fewer works than Byrd or even Sheppard, but the intensity and richness of his musical message is everywhere present…. Phillips really has the measure of the music…. Everything is so elegantly done and so persuasive that the record positively compels you to return to it again and again."—Gramophone
"His later work is among the finest in Europe, ranging from the artless perfection of his short anthems to the restrained pathos of the Lamentations."—Grove