The Tallis Scholars have existed for 50 years. They will be back to dazzle audiences at AMUZ for their anniversary year, this time with the phenomenal Missa Corona spinea by John Taverner (ca. 1490-1545).
This six-part mass is unrivalled in English Renaissance repertoire. Specifically, we find a challenge of literally unprecedented height in the soprano part: there is no other mass in which the sopranos sing this high!
The Missa Corona spinea must have been composed for a special occasion, and was probably commissioned by Cardinal Wolsey, Taverner’s employer at Cardinal College in Oxford, which had an even better music chapel than King Henry VIII. It is possible that the mass was performed in March 1527, during a visit by Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Shortly afterwards, Wolsey fell from the king’s grace: perhaps the performance evoked jealousy and the intention to flatter the king missed its mark.
Expect great things: “Prepare to leave planet earth for the duration of Taverner’s Missa Corona spinea”, in the words of Early Music Today.
Wim Diepenhorst will improvise on the Gothic organ between the mass movements.
J. Taverner: Missa Corona spinea
The Tallis Scholars | Peter Philips, artistic director