Peter Phillips

Peter Phillips is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Tallis Scholars.

One​ of the abiding mysteries in presenting music from the past is what the singers sounded like. There is no evidence for it, apart from written descriptions, all of which fall far short of telling us anything precise. What is one to make of this description of the singing in the Chapel Royal in 1515, written by the Venetian ambassador to Henry VIII’s court and included in Andrew...

Thedeath early in 1603 of Maria of Austria, daughter of Charles V, wife of Maximilian II and mother of Rudolf II, called for extravagant exequies. Her catafalque, erected in the monastery of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid, was ‘magnificent and majestic’, according to the artist Diego de Urbina. ‘This catafalque had a width of eighteen feet and a height of fifty-four feet...

No More D Minor: Tallis Survives

Peter Phillips, 29 July 2021

On​ 30 January 1540 the monks of Evesham Abbey were singing the Magnificat when messengers from the king interrupted them. ‘The monastery of Evesham was suppressed by King Henry VIII … at evensong time,’ John of Alcester recorded, ‘the convent being in the choir at this verse Deposuit potentes, and would not suffer them to make an end.’ Four years into the...

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