Thomas Tallis’ England

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Almost 118 years ago, a nervous Ralph Vaughan Williams conducted the world premiere of his latest work Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis in Gloucester Cathedral…


He may not have been so nervous if he had the ability to see into the future. His soaring masterpiece went on to become one of the most loved hits in British music history.

In a rare foray into the 20th century, Paul Dyer and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra will open their 2018 season with Thomas Tallis’ England, and with this landmark work.

On the same bill, the Brandenburg Choir will sing the music by Thomas Tallis (c1505 – 1585) that inspired the Fantasia, and fast-rising star countertenor Max Riebl makes a welcome return to the Brandenburg stage as soloist.

The legacy of Tallis was monumental and will be the common thread woven through this concert of English masterworks by his contemporaries and later composers he inspired – Byrd, Gibbons and Purcell (who in turn inspired musicians of more modern times, such as Michael NymanPet Shop BoysJethro Tull and The Who, for example).

The concert also includes music by Handel, the iconic German who took on British citizenship and was a major celebrity in his adopted home of London.

Paul Dyer, Artistic Director says: “I urge everyone not to miss hearing the Brandenburg Strings perform the epic and cinematic Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. It will be an amazing concert experience. Its regularly voted in radio station polls as one of the favourites of all classical music works for good reason – it’s beautiful and emotional, and just soars! I’ve always wanted us to play it.

“The breathtaking and sublime music Thomas Tallis wrote 450 years ago that inspired the Fantasia it is absolutely ‘to die for’ and will be sung by the Brandenburg Choir. We’re starting 2018 off with Thomas Tallis’ England and I can’t think of a more perfect way to herald in the year ahead.”

max riebelMax Riebl says: “I can’t wait to get back on the Brandenburg stage and perform this music with Paul, the orchestra and choir. They’ve all been such an important part of my singing career and they’re great mates as well. I’ll be singing two beautiful songs by Gibbons, from the late Tudor/early Jacobean period and an aria from Handel’s opera Orlando with lots of vocal fireworks. I’m probably most looking forward to singing Cold Song from Purcell’s King Arthur, a gut-wrenching masterpiece that is simultaneously epic and minimalist.”

Fly with the Brandenburg and soar gently above the rolling, patchwork fields of England with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. The monumental legacy of Tallis weaves a common thread through this program of English masterworks by Byrd, Gibbons, Purcell, Tallis, and Vaughan Williams.

Be lifted up by the pure angelic voice of countertenor Maximilian Riebl. Joined by the Brandenburg Choir, together their ethereal voices will take you to the shores of that sceptred isle on an epic journey of the imagination.

Paul Dyer Artistic Director
Maximilian Riebl countertenor
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
Brandenburg Choir

English Masterpieces by Byrd, Gibbons, Handel, Purcell, Tallis.
Featuring Ralph Vaughan Williams’  Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

Gibbons Prelude in G major
Byrd Ave verum corpus
Gibbons Drop, drop slow tears (instrumental)
Gibbons The silver swan
Gibbons Drop, drop slow tears (vocal)
Gibbons Great Lord of Lords
Gibbons Hosanna to the Son of David
Purcell Overture from Abdelazer
Purcell Rondeau from Abdelazer
Purcell Cold Song from King Arthur
Handel Concerto Grosso, Op. 6/7: I Largo & II Allegro
Handel Fammi combattere from Orlando, HMV 31
Locke Curtain tune from The Tempest
Tallis If ye love me
Tallis Agnus dei from Missa puer natus est nobis
Tallis Why fumeth in sight from Tunes for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter
Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis

Concert duration approximately 100 minutes, including one interval. Please note concert duration is approximate only and is subject to change.

Sydney – 2018
Wed, 28 February, 7:00 PM
Fri, 2 March, 7:00 PM
Sat, 3 March, 2:00 PM
Sat, 3 March, 7:00 PM

Venue details

City Recital Hall
2-12 Angel Pl
Sydney NSW 2000

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