Thomas Tallis

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Thomas Tallis


Born: c.1505

Died: 23 November 1585


The entry in Cathedral Music, Volume 1 (William Boyce) reads:

Thomas Tallis was Organist of the Royal Chapels to King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth. He was esteem'd a most excellent Composer of Church Music, at least equal to any Contemporary, either of his own Country or of Foreign Nations; and was the first who compos'd the Musical Part of our Divine Service in the English Language. He, in conjunction with William Bird, a Musician of great Eminence, who had been his Scholar, obtain'd of Queen Elizabeth, in the Year of our Lord 1575, Letters Patent, by which they claim'd the exclusive Right of printing all Ruled Paper, as well as of all Music Books, for the Term of 21 Years. He died November 23d, 1585, and was buried at Greenwich in Kent. (Greenwich is, in fact, in Greater London.)

On his Grave-Stone is the following Inscription:

Enterred here doth ly a worthy wyght, / Who for long Tyme in musick bore the bell:

His name to shew, was Thomas Tallis hyght,
 / In honest vertuous Lyff he dyd excell.
He ser'd long Tyme in Chappel with grete Prayse, / Fower Sovereygnes Reygnes (a thing not often seen)

I mean King Henry & Prynce Edward's dayes,
 / Queen Mary, & Elizabeth our Quene.
He maryd was, though children had he none, / and lyv'd in Love full thre and thirty yeres

With loyal spouse, whose name yclyipt was Jone, / Who here entomb'd, his Company now bears.
As he did lyve, so also did he dy,
 / In mild & quyet sort (O! happy man)

To God ful oft for mercy did he cry, / Wherefore he lyves, let Death do what he can.

View the Wikipedia article on Thomas Tallis.

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List of choral works

Latin.png Sacred music in Latin

English.png Sacred music in English


Liturgical music

Nine Compositions for Archbishop Parker's Psalter, 1567

Anglican chants

Contrafacta in English

Pre-1650 English texts (not necessarily translations) set to the music of the Latin motets, and other works.

English.png Secular works

Choral works not indexed on CPDL

  • Ave Dei patris filia
  • Missa Puer natus est nobis
  • Procul recedant somnia - see Te lucis ante terminum

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External links