We needed that. After a barren 18 months with precious little live music-making in and around the College (except online) the appetite for a resumption of something resembling normality was urgently required. What better way then to rekindle the beauty of live music than a concert of the sacred vocal music of the Italian Renaissance, in the setting of the College’s glorious Chapel, given by the Tallis Scholars as part of this year’s Marlborough College Concert Series.
Precision, consummate control, intimate musical shapes and exquisite blend are just a few of the hallmarks of this extraordinary award-winning group. Peter Phillips is their evergreen Director who continues to expertly coax the most sublime sounds from the group which makes for a truly inspirational experience for the listener. Tempi is so crucial in music and Phillips judges this to perfection – the music always has a natural flow but without ever sounding rushed and the detail of every musical nuance shines through in abundance.
There were many highlights in this performance but surely the Allegri Miserere deserves a special mention. Not just because it is the Allegri Miserere but because of the way it was delivered. The tenor solo was enchanting and the increasing embellishment of the offstage soprano solo line was utterly compelling. Without wanting to get too nerdy, the accented passing note of ‘that B’ in the final passage was beautifully outrageous and brought a smile to some of the onstage artists, not to mention a few in the audience… Simply stunning.
In my programme notes I mentioned the words ‘uplifting’ and ‘heartening’ (to be back) and this concert was everything and more. Thank you, Tallis Scholars. Indeed, we certainly needed that.
Photo: Rodrigo Pérez