CD REVIEWS: After 350 Years, Tomkins' Great Anthem Lives

The Birmingham Post (England), December 13, 2003 | Go to article overview

CD REVIEWS: After 350 Years, Tomkins' Great Anthem Lives


Spem in alium. Choral music by Tallis, Gibbons, Byrd and Tomkins. The Sixteen/Harry Christophers (Coro).

When Cromwell's troops occupied Worcester during the Civil War the cathedral was used to stable their horses.

With the organ destroyed and the choir disbanded, it could hardly have been clearer to the elderly Thomas Tomkins, who had presided over music at Worcester for half a century, that his services were no longer required.

Before retiring to his son's home at Martin Hussingtree, where he busied himself adding the final masterpieces to the golden age of English keyboard music associated with his teacher Byrd, he composed an impassioned setting of Psalm 79: 'O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance...'

It is Tomkins' largest anthem, but if it ever had a performance in his lifetime it could only have been in a private setting. Now restored by John Milsom from a seriously incomplete surviving score, this magnificent piece can be heard for the first time in 350 years as part of this spectacular recording of English church music.

Several pieces have direct connections with English history. Tomkins' Know you not commemorates the sudden death at the age of 18 of Prince Henry, the elder son of James 1. William Byrd's Deus venerunt gentes is another setting, this time in Latin, of Psalm 79, in this case prompted by the martyrdom of the Jesuit Father Edmund Campion in 1581.

The unaccompanied Byrd setting receives a performance so ravishing as to be almost worth the price of the disc on its own. But the primary focus of this collection, which celebrates 25 years of Harry Christophers' superb choir, is Thomas Tallis's 40-part motet Spem in alium, which opens the disc in its familiar Latin version and closes it in the lesser-known English translation, Sing and glorify. Why 40 parts? According to legend, because of English chauvinism. An Italian motet in 30 parts was imported into England and an aristocrat challenged an English composer to top it.

Usually Spem in alium is a welter of sound, albeit a glorious one. This landmark recording is the first in surround sound, giving the homecinema listener a better chance of hearing its many individual voices. But played on conventional stereos it sounds wonderful too. HHHHH Review by Terry Grimley To order this CD for pounds 12.99, including post & packing, call our Music Line on 01634 832 789 Music of Charles Williams - BBC Concert Orchestra/Wordsworth (White Line CD WHL 2151 For those of us who spent our early years listening to the wireless and watching television when there was only one channel, this CD will bring back many happy memories. Charles Williams (1893-1978) enjoyed a long and successful career as Britain's most prolific composer of signature tunes and incidental music. Literally hundreds of films, radio and TV programmes were introduced and accompanied by his compositions, ranging from British feature films like While I Live, from which The Dream of Olwen made the charts in 1947, to the Young Ballerina, used to accompany the 1950s Potter's Wheel interlude on television.

Girls in Grey, a wartime piece written for the Women's Junior Air Corps, became even better known when it was used for the twice-weekly BBC Television Newsreel; and the rip-roaring Devil's Gallop acquired legendary status as the signature tune of Dick Barton, Special Agent. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

CD REVIEWS: After 350 Years, Tomkins' Great Anthem Lives
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.