Spring 2021 Tour Program Options

The Tallis Scholars
Peter Phillips, Founder and Conductor
April 2021 US Tour Program

Program 1: The Armed Man and the Virgin
Monody: L'homme armé
Josquin: Missa L'homme armé super voces musicales
Whitacre: Sainte Chapelle
MacMillan: A Child's Prayer
Gallus: Mirabile mysterium
Gesualdo: Ave dulcissima, Maria
Gesualdo: Maria, mater gratiae
Fayrfax: Eterne laudis lilium

Whoever the Armed Man (L'homme armé) originally was, he clearly left a deep impression on late medieval European society. The best theory is that he was a roving warrior inspiring fear wherever he went, possibly of Turkish origin - but every generation has its favourite bogeymen. At any rate there are over 20 mass settings based on the melody which he inspired: we present one of the two which Josquin wrote on the melody, the Missa L'homme armé super voces musicales being one of the most intense of all of them.

By contrast the music in the second half praises the Virgin Mary, alongside Jesus and the Saints. Whitacre's Sainte Chapelle (written for the Tallis Scholars) tells how the saints in a stained glass window in the Sainte Chapelle in Paris welcome the onlooker to their world. MacMillan's beautiful A Child's Prayer goes a step further and specifically welcomes Jesus to our hearts. Gallus and Gesualdo reflect on the mystery of the Virgin, a mood of introspection which is extended in Fayrfax's Eterne laudis lilium. Here this gentle mood builds slowly through Fayrfax's long parapraphs until it finally arrives at the most beautiful 'Amen' in the repertoire.

Program 2: The Armed Man
Monody: L'homme armé
Josquin: Missa L'homme armé sexti toni (Kyrie)
Josquin: Missa L'homme armé sexti toni (Gloria)
Tavener: Funeral Ikos
Tavener: In the Month of Athyr – with narrator*
Josquin: Missa L'homme armé sexti toni (Credo)
Josquin: Missa L'homme armé sexti toni (Sanctus)
Palestrina: Tribulationes civitatum
Byrd: Tribulationes civitatum
Byrd: Ave verum
Josquin: Missa L'homme armé sexti toni (Agnus) 

The theme behind this programme is the so-called Armed Man of medieval mythology, and the disruption and fear he brought to the cities of the time. No-one has identified who this person was, though he was at least the kind of shadowy figure every society fears, whether actual or imaginary. The favourite source of anxiety were roving Turkish mercenaries left behind after the wars against them. Josquin set the famous melody which this figure inspired twice, this one on the sixth tone, which we divide up with motets to fill out the story. The two settings of Tribulationes civitatum in particular describe how cities can become desolate when morale collapses. The two pieces by John Tavener are more gentle in tone, though they both take death as their starting-point. The concert ends with the Agnus dei from Josquin's mass - peace at the last.

*Requires narrator (locally sourced) 



***Please contact Artist Management before confirming any program.***

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Posted: Jul-8-2019
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