The Tallis Scholars. Photo by Hugo Glendinning.

The Tallis Scholars

Darkness to Light

Thursday 8 February 2024, 19:30

Past Event
The Tallis Scholars Past Event


White Lamentations II
White Exaudiat te Dominus
Tallis Lamentations II
Parsons O bone Jesu
Parsons Ave Maria
White Regina caeli
Byrd All Saints Propers


The Tallis Scholars
Peter Phillips conductor

The journey behind this programme is a familiar one: from darkness into light or, to put it in a more Christian way, from penitence into joy. This is an emotional journey, often associated with Lent and Easter, which has inspired some of the greatest sacred music ever written.

Our first half is largely devoted to the mood of Lent, nowhere more beautifully captured than in the two English settings of the Lamentations, by Robert White and Thomas Tallis. Both composers are masters at alternating the traditional words of lament with the greater reflection provided by the Hebrew letters, which punctuate the main text.

In the second half we join in the worship of Jesus and Mary as they fulfil the Easter prophecy and lead us to heaven through the Saints: Jesus in Robert Parsons’ magnificent setting of O bone Jesu, and Mary in the Ave Maria and Regina caeli settings.

The message of these pieces is then summed up in the complete cycle of William Byrd’s Propers for All Saints – four motets which take us to stand, with the Saints, before God, who is the origin of light. The beautiful music of Justorum animae – one of Byrd’s most performed motets assures the righteous of their place in heaven, while the final Beati mundo corde affirms that the clean of heart ‘shall see God’.

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