Tag Archives: Spem In Alium

🎻♫♪ – Spem In Alium by Thomas Tallis

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
Progress:
 51/501Title: Spem In Alium
Composer: Thomas Tallis
Nationality: English
Year:
1569

After a few live performances it’s time to get back to the more regular (and cost effective) method of ticking these off. Good old Spotify. It’s also seems right to go back to the oldest piece I had yet to listen – which means another religious vocal piece. It’s also the second of two pieces by Thomas Tallis, the other one being a vocal piece that I actually liked.

I guess that, with Spem In Alium, Thomas Tallis is two for two for making a vocal piece that I enjoyed. However, and this is a new one, Spem In Alium might actually be the first vocal piece on this list (opera not included) that emotionally affected me. This might be down to having slept poorly the night before, but I want to give Tallis credit where it is due.

Spem In Alium is an incredibly ambitious piece, even for a list like this. It’s a religious motet that has been composed for eight five-person choirs – so forty voices in total. Over the course of 10 minutes the forty voices execute a wide range of different harmonies. There are some pieces of repetition, but the whole thing really does flow rather beautifully. I can only imagine just how amazing this would sound when performed live in a church.