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11.11.03

Happy Anniversary to the Tallis Scholars

An article by Roderick Conway Norris (What They Really Do: A Wall of Sound, November 11) in the International Herald Tribune drew my attention to the fact that the Tallis Scholars have been giving extraordinary concerts of Renaissance polyphony for 30 years and that Peter Phillips has published a memoir of that remarkable career, What We Really Do (the link takes you to the online order form where you can buy the book). Having been an undergraduate piano major and choral singer in the late 1980s, I enjoyed performing Renaissance polyphony from the first time my high school choir director made us sing O magnum mysterium by Victoria. However, my first experiences with hearing recordings of Renaissance music in my undergraduate music history class made me cringe. When I went to graduate school in the early 1990s, I heard the recordings of the Tallis Scholars for the first time. I remember very clearly listening to their recording of Thomas Tallis's settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah for Holy Week and thinking that it was heaven on earth. Now the Tallis Scholars have performed all over the world (including a televised performance of Allegri's Miserere in the Sistine Chapel) and made a pile of recordings. I wish them a happy anniversary and many more years of performance.

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