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The familiar picture that exists in a pair with a portrait of William Byrd is in fact an 18th century engraving from a book by N. Thomas Tallis by Kate Smith, London 1997 As part of the Thomas Tallis project, Chapelle du Roi has commissioned the London artist, Kate Smith, to produce a new portrait showing Tallis in the clothes that a senior member of the 16th century Royal Household would have worn THOMAS TALLIS Music for Henry VIII This recording, the first in the series devoted to the complete works of Thomas Tallis, includes church music written during the first decade of his career, probably between about 1530 and R e l a t ive ly little is known about Ta l l i s s life, particularly about his early years.He was probably b o rn in Kent during the first decade of t h e sixteenth century.As a result new editions of the music are required for the recordings, many of which will in time be published by the Cantiones Press.No portrait of Thomas Tallis survives from his lifetime. That portrait depicts Tallis as a young man in clothes and a hair style that are about a hundred years too late; rather more Jacobean than Tudor.
He was a member of this choir during what must have been a very busy period while it rapidly built up an i m p re s s ive and marke d ly conserva t ive musical repertory.
One might expect that in 1540 the prospects of ree m p l oyment for a redundant ch u rch musician would have looked decidedly bleak.
Paradoxically, however, the dissolution of the monasteries itself created some attractive opportunities.
The cathedral had a long and live ly musical tradition involving not only the maintenance of a p ro fessional Lady Chapel choir but also the encouragement of the monks own musical talents; it seems quite possible that this could have assisted the exploitation of music at Dover.
Even so, any choir available to Tallis at Dover Priory must surely have been tiny perhaps solo voices on each of the lower lines and three or four boys at the top of the texture.