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Passacaglia on "Tallis" (Canon)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (05/23/20)
Composer: Dicks, Ernest A.
Sample Producer: Audio Angelorum
Sample Set: Peterborough Cathedral Hill
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
Ernest Alfred Dicks (1865-1948) was an organist in Cheltenham, and also to the Royal Masonic Lodge. I'm not sure exactly where this work is taken from, but it was published by Bayley & Ferguson in 1927.

I believe that this can be found in Book 4 of the "Short and Easy Pieces." It's a fine piece, dignified and effective, but it will require some skill and finesse to make it sound well, so, the word "easy" should not be taken too literally. :-)

The piece is based upon the tune known as the "Tallis Canon," composed by one of the greatest of English composers, Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585).

The "Tallis Canon" is one of nine tunes Thomas Tallis contributed to Matthew Parker's Psalter (around 1561). There it was used as a setting for Psalm 67. In the original tune the melody began in the tenor, followed by the soprano, and featured repeated phrases. Thomas Ravenscroft published the tune, with the repeat phrases omitted, in his Whole Book of Psalmes (1621). The Ravenscroft version is the setting that virtually all modern hymnals use for this text.

I think Dicks' setting is more of a "set of variations" than a true "passacaglia," but the writing is typical of all of his hymn-tune preludes.

The harmonies are conservative but effective, and the colors that he calls for sound very well on an instrument like the Peterborough Hill.

The text usually is associated with this tune is:

All praise to Thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath the shelter of Thy wings.

The score is attached below, as well as painting of Thomas Tallis, and a photo of Waltham Abbey, where he served as organist.

Tomorrow, Basil Harwood's fine "Short Postlude for Ascensiontide", preceded by the hymn upon which it is based,
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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