Thomas Tallis : If ye love me

If ye love me by Thomas Tallis (c.1505–1585), recorded by members of The Gesualdo Six, directed by Owain Park.

This track comes from the ensemble’s first album, ‘English Motets’, a programme linking two hundred years of music from medieval and Tudor England (available here:

“Weavers of rich and plangent aural tapestries, The Gesualdo Six meld style and substance with beguiling sure-footedness. An auspicious debut.” – BBC Music Magazine

The fine-grained texture of solo voices allows us to savour the amazing harmonic pungency of English sacred music, which at times seems almost modernist. It is a wonderful achievement.” – The Telegraph

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If ye love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father,
and he will give you another comforter, that he may bide with you for ever,
e’vn the spirit of truth.

John 14: 15-17

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About the music

While all composers in Tudor England were flexible to the period’s shifting religious requirements, none was quite as skilful at reinvention as Tallis, whose music remains absolutely consistent in its quality, even while his style changes dramatically. Intelligibility of text is all in ‘If ye love me’, and one whose guiding principle seems to be Archbishop Cranmer’s edict that sacred music should use only one note per syllable. Tallis opens the work with a clear declamation of the text, emphasizing the word ‘commandments’ and leaving his listener in no doubt of the importance placed on learning and teaching in the new language of the Church. Despite continuing in a four-part polyphonic texture, none of the clarity of text is lost, with beautiful descending phrases passed around the voices.
[Programme note: Owain Park © 2018]

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The Gesualdo Six | Owain Park
Relevance: Past Performers
In this Video Artist(s) The Gesualdo Six Resource(s) St James' Church
Posted: Jul. 6, 2018

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