- Tallis, Thomas (b c1505 - d Greenwich, 23 November, 1585)
- Tallis was organist of the Benedictine Priory of Dover in 1532, then probably organist of St Mary-at-Hill, London (1537-8). Around 1538 he moved to Waltham Abbey where, at the dissolution (1540) he was a senior lay clerk. In 1541-2 he was a lay clerk at Canterbury Cathedral, and in 1543 became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. He remained in the royal household until his death acting as organist, although he was not designated so until 1570.
In 1575 he and William Byrd were granted a licence by Elizabeth I to print music, as a result of which Cantiones sacrae (an anthology of Latin motets by both composers) was published later that year.
His earliest surviving works are probably three votive antiphons (Salve intermerata virgo, Ave rosa sine spinis, and Ave Dei patris filia) in the structure common up to c1530 being in two halves, with sections in both reduced and full textures. Two of his most indulgent works are the six voice antiphon Gaude gloriosa Dei mater and the seven voice mass Puer natus est nobis which both date from Mary Tudor's brief reign (1553-8). Gaude gloriosa Dei mater displays musical imagery, and melismatic writing, while the Mass demonstrates his expert handling of current techniques of structural imitation and choral antiphony. His 40 part motet, Spem in alium is thought to have been composed in 1573.
Tallis was one of the first composers to write for the new Anglican liturgy of 1547-53. Much of this music (which includes If ye love me, and Hear the voice and prayer) is in four parts with clear syllabic word setting, and represents the prototype of the early English anthem. Other music of this period includes various English adaptions of Latin motets, the Latin Lamentations, and the paired five part canticles.
His instrumental works include keyboard arrangements of four partsongs, many cantus firmus settings, and a small but noteable contribution to the repertory of consort music.
Tallis's early music is comparatively undistinguished, lacking both Taverner's mastery of the festal style, and Tye's modernisms. However, much of his later work is among the finest examples of Elizabethan music throughout Europe.