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Tamesis Issue 172

May 2005

I’m looking forward to the Tallis 40-part spem in alium workshop next month at Waltham Abbey. Philip Thorby always manages to find something new and interesting in even the most well known works. Clifford Bartlett, who is organising the event, tells me that he still needs more men, particularly tenors, so please come yourself and try to recruit some more. I don’t think that this means that there are no spaces for women now, but he has set an upper limit of 120 singers and has already reached 70. According to the New Grove, Thomas Tallis moved to Waltham Abbey towards the end of 1538, but unfortunately the abbey was dissolved in March 1540. Because he was a relative newcomer he did not receive a pension but was paid off with 20 shillings in outstanding wages and 20 shillings ‘reward’. Last weekend I went to an extraordinary performance of spem in alium as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. On entering St Peter Parmentergate church you are confronted by 40 black loudspeakers on stands placed in an oval around the church. There are a few seats perfectly placed in the middle where you can hear the total effect with the sound moving around the choirs, but it is also fascinating to be able to walk about listening to the individual choirs and voices. The exhibition, as they call it, is by the Canadian artist Janet Cardiff, but the helpers on the door were unable to tell me anything about the singers. The performance lasts eleven minutes and is repeated every quarter of an hour. Entrance is free and the exhibition is open from 1pm to 6pm until Sunday 15th May. There seems to be some confusion about where to send items for Tamesis. Please send articles and listings to me by email to tamesis @ or by post to the address on the front. Leaflets to be inserted and enquiries about them should go directly to David Fletcher who does the printing.
Victoria Helby

Chairman’s Chat
Firstly I must apologise for an aberration which caused me to 'correct' the date of the David Allinson workshop wrongly last month, based on what turns out to have been an out-of-date entry in my diary. The correct date is the 17th September and the event will take place at the Dutch Church in the City. I have been reminded by Patsy Moore (who organised it) that contrary to my recollections in my Chat last month, we have in fact had a workshop directed by Peter Syrus. Ann Tribble was even able to tell me that it was in June 1995 and that we studied Josquin's Inviolata and Ave Maria and Senfl's Tota pulchra es. I'm pretty sure it must have been one of the relatively few workshops which I failed to attend for some reason. Fortunately I am able to go to the one this month and hope to see many of you there. I know that the 1st of April was a rather distant memory when last month's Tamesis arrived, but I had hoped that the date at the bottom of my review of 'The Catholic Mass in Macao' might have given the clue that it was the latest in a long line of April spoofs. Anyone interested in rereading them can go to There seems to have been a shortage of articles of any kind recently so do tell us of any exciting events you've been to or share your enthusiasm for some aspect of early music.
David Fletcher

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