Tallis [in iejunio et fletu]

Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts, 8th Feb 2018


Genre: Works for 2-6 players

First performance


Tallis Festival

Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts, University of Sussex

Rowland Sutherland, flute

Fiona Cross, clarinet

Susanne Stanzeleit, violin

Ben Rogerson, cello

Richard Casey, piano

Ed Hughes, conductor


Tallis set In ieiunio et fletu in his Cantiones Sacrae (1675), a volume including some of his final and most expressive motets. This is a penitential text particularly suited to Ash Wednesday, with priests weeping at the altar and pleading for forgiveness for the people.

As I absorbed the strange and beautiful harmonies while arranging the work for a modern ensemble, the violin came forward in my mind - prompting a new layer, based on the harmonies of the music, as though a new foreground was being produced, slightly blurring or occluding the original. To this counterpoint the piano also introduced a new layer. For me, this modern ensemble reflects a new approach on the negotiation between voices and instruments that was a feature of 16th and 17th century practices in English music.


Ed Hughes is a composer, artistic director of the New Music Players, and Professor of Composition at Sussex University.