Thursday, 15 December 2011

A sucker for Tallis

For some weird reason, London is warm and pleasant tonight. After our regularly stressful but organisationally healthy meeting in EC1 I declined the pub and elected for a relaxing walk through the City. A lit church porch and open door prompted the thought for a few minutes of quiet contemplation but my mistake was evident as I sidled quietly into a rear pew. They were rehearsing Tallis.

Tallis has about the same effect on me as Kryptonite to Superman. Ninety seconds of Spem in Alium reduces me to a wet mass of snot and tears, utterly humbled and filled with love for Christ and Man. There's no defence. My response to Tallis is hard-wired. So I thought Uh-oh, and as that first impossibly sweet note hit the baroque piers and spiraled up to the vault my inner heart opened like a blossom to the Sun  and I scrabbled in the Barbour for anything that could be used as a tissue. 

Now it feels like Christmas.


Edward Spalton said...

I was a frequent visitor to Wells in Somerset. When business permitted I would visit the marvellous cathedral. One day I met an American family in the close and got talking. Father and Junior were obviously satiated with "quaintness" but the lady wanted to see the inside of the cathedral about which I felt quite proprietary, So we went in.

The choir was rehearsing so we sat down for a while. Then I noticed that the lady was crying and wondered what domestic minefield I had ventured into.
In a minute or two, she was bucketing tears. I need not have worried. "It's just all so beaudiful!" she said. - Same effect as Tallis on you!

Anonymous said...

A rare man admits to this 'weakness' R, most insightful - the pastoral can do bring upon me a 'moment in time' anywhere - I've heard it so many times and each time, it is a wonder.

Plain chant, the melodious sound, a practised choir and with light in through stained windows, in Cathedrals [and Monasteries] is verily a revelation.

Indescribable, as I wonder, heart soaring - in and amongst musing upon the stone masons and architects who builded these great churches and of the deep devotion to God these magnificently beautiful masterpieces evoke - you do not have to be a Christian to sense or to feel it because: it is tangible.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I concur.

I will add only, that Spem in Alium must be followed by "If ye love me", thus matching the running order of an old vinyl I owned as a teenager. I listened to that so many times that, in my mind, the one leads ineluctably to the other.

For me, Christmas begins with the first chorus of the Christmas Oratorio; every year I try to wait as long as possible before listening to it: I think I may not last beyond this evening...

Greg T ingey said...

Beautiful music - agreed.

Sorry, but there isn't a BSF, of any sort.
I note that C. Hitchens just died - what a loss!

As for "christmas", well, that bastard Cromwell, the most christian leader we've ever had (apart from Bloody Mary) had it right - he banned "christmas", because, he quite rightly, knew that we have no idea what time of year Yeshua was born.
And the festival is actually Yule/Midwinter/Sol Redevivus taken-over.
Not that I'm complaining, mark you - just don't pretend it is anything at all to do with the christians BSF....

Anonymous said...

Well Raedwald, a very merry Christmas to you and your friends and family. I am sat in my little office today making quotations for telecoms work and all of a sudden you have blindsided me with Tallis and I am now struggling to read my computer screen.

Coney Island

Anonymous said...

Wonderful start to a Friday morning. I've loved this for as long as I can remember, and frequently listen to my own recording by the Tallis Scholars.
I just say to Greg T ingey - to parade your bile does nobody any good, including yourself.

David Williams said...

Thanks for introducing me to a wonderful piece of music. Old Hitching may be right about religion but it has inspired some bloody wonderful music

susyrosy said...

Beautiful music, darling - thanks!


Tarka the Rotter said...

Weekend Yachtsman - I think I had the same vinyl record - The Clerkes of Oxenford - wonderful stuff...Tallis and Monteverdi (Vespers of 1610) my all time favourites

Anonymous said...

Hello susyrosy, nice to see you on here.

Coney Island

Elby the Beserk said...

Quite so. I'm not even a default Christian, but the music that Christianity has inspired through the ages never fails to lift my soul. The opening chords of the Matthew Passion reason enough for the existence of the human race.

Wells Cathedral is a marvel, and indeed, Cathedrals and old churches always instil a deep sense of peace in me

Re Mr. Hitchens. I was in the same house as him at public school, and he was clearly bound for glory then - as was, just as clearly, his brother bound to hang on to his coat tails. A walking contradiction, so right on Kissinger, so wrong on Iraq, he was regardless in fine wordsmith who could have been from an earlier generation. RIP. Have a large gin for me, Christopher, in that great toper's bar up above. My old man and mother will be there as well. They'll take a Dry Martini, stirred, with a sliver of lemon peel. The Martini just to shiver the surface of the gin, of course.

Greg Tingey said...

WHat "bile"
- just facts
You might not like those facts, but that is YOUR PROBLEM.

I might add that the THREE (I forgot oje) most christian leaders we've had have all been distasters:
going backwards:
Crowell, Mary, Edward the Confessor.
Nuff said.