Tallis's priests

I am working on Sinfonia, a piece for large ensemble inspired by the sound of English music from c. 1400-1600. Performance by the New Music Players at the Warehouse, London on Fri 28 Sept. http://nmp28sept.eventbrite.com

On Thursday 8 Feb 2018 my band the New Music Players were in the Tallis Festival at the Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts, University of Sussex.

Our programme consisted entirely of premieres of radical new arrangements and compositions inspired by Tallis, a 16th century English composer. The composers featured were Benjamin Oliver, BmB; Eleanor Clapp, O nata lux; Rowland Sutherland, Distant Lamentations of Jeremiah; Jason Hazael, Tallis Timestretch; Hugh Chambers, Miserere Nostri; Lee Westwood, n.t.l.x; Oded Ben-Tal, Between the Lines; Ed Hughes, Tallis [in ieiunio et fletu].

Here is a clip from that live performance of Ed Hughes's Tallis [in ieiunio et fletu].


This five minute chamber piece is for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, and has been rescored for large ensemble as part of 'Sinfonia', which will be premiered on 28 Sept 2018 at the Warehouse in London.

The work is based on In ieiunio et fletu from Cantiones Sacrae (1575), which features a penitential text particularly suited to Ash Wednesday, depicting priests weeping at the altar and pleading for forgiveness for the people. As I absorbed the strange and beautiful harmonies while arranging the work for a modern ensemble, the violin came forward in my mind - prompting a new layer, based on the harmonies of the music, as though a new foreground was being produced, slightly blurring or occluding the original. To this counterpoint the piano added further ornament. For me, this helped me understand the negotiation between voices and instruments that was a feature of 16th and 17th century practices in English music.

The musicians in this performance were Rowland Sutherland, flute; Fiona Cross, clarinet; Susanne Stanzeleit, violin; Ben Rogerson, cello; Richard Casey, piano, and this clip is with their kind permission.

Extract from Hughes In iejunio et fletu (after Tallis) - from Sinfonia - (c) University of York Music Press, 2018

Extract from Hughes In iejunio et fletu (after Tallis) - from Sinfonia - (c) University of York Music Press, 2018

Ed HughesSinfonia