Thomas Tallis’ Magnificats: Features Of The Genre

Ekaterina V. Svirskaya


The article explores the specifics of the Magnificat produced by Thomas Tallis, one of the leading English 16th century composers. The development of the genre is a direct reflection of the religious history of 16th-century England. It was a peculiar and unique period as catholic kings would replace protestant kings which inevitably led to the reformation of church rites. Tallis as a composer witnessed the reign of four monarchs, and the three Magnificats from his legacy appear to have been written for different forms of worship in pre-Reformed English Catholic and post-Reformed Anglican Church. Russian musicology has not given much attention to Tallis’s works. Recently, a few studies focused on some of his compositions, however, Tallis’s Magnificats are still outside the research scope. This article summarizes the information of foreign researchers on the chronology of Tallis’ works, the conditions of developing liturgical cycles, and their relationship to religious changes in the country. The article also provides a detailed analysis of Magnificats. In particular, it focuses on the specifics of architectonics and texture in the Magnificats with the Latin text and in the cycle written for Anglican Church. Thus, the article discusses structural features of Tallis’s Magnificat for the Anglican Church and raises a question about the emergence of the tradition that combines the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in one cycle during a reformatory worship. In addition, the article examines the techniques Tallis used to approach the melodic basis of the Magnificats that embrace unique features of British culture to further transform them in a polyphonic setting.

Keywords: English 16th century choral music, Thomas Tallis, musical genres in the Anglican Office, Tudor Magnificat, Nunc dimittis, Sarum Tone, faburden

For citation: Svirskaya E. V. Thomas Tallis’ Magnificats: Features Of The Genre [Electronic source]. In: Sovremennye problemy muzykoznaniya / Contemporary Musicology, 2022, no. 4, pp. 17–41. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.56620/2587-9731-2022-4-017-041


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Copyright (c) 2022 Ekaterina V. Svirskaya

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