Tallis, Thomas

Tallis, Thomas a celebrated English musician, flourished about the middle of the 16th century. Under queen Elizabeth he became gentleman of the royal chapel and organist. Although he was a diligent collector of musical antiquities, and a careful peruser of the works of other men, his compositions are so truly original that he may justly be said to be the father of the cathedral style. Notwithstanding his supposed attachment to the Romish religion, it seems that Tallis accommodated himself and his studies to the alterations introduced at the Reformation. With this view, he set to music those parts of the English liturgy which at that time were deemed most proper to be sung, viz. the two morning services-the one comprehending the Venite a Exultemus, Te Deum, and Benedictus; and the other, which is part of the communion office, consisting of the Kyrie Eleison, Nicene Creed, and Sanctus; as also the evening service, containing the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. He also set musical notes to the preces and responses, and composed that litany which for its excellence is sung on solemn services in all places where the choral service is performed. The services of Tallis contain also chants for the Venite Exultemus and the Creed of St. Athanasius, two of which are published in Dr. Boyce's Cathedral Music; vol. 1. Besides the offices above mentioned, constituting what are now termed the morning, communion, and evening services, in four parts, with the preces, responses, and litany. Tallis composed many anthems. He died Nov. 23, 1585, and was buried in the parish church of Greenwich, in Kent.

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