There seems to be no record of Tallis s departure from Dover, but the priory itself was dissolved in the autumn of 1535, very soon after it had been visited by the king s commissioners.This could indicate that something was seriously amiss; before the government s scheme for dissolving the smaller monasteries was put into general operation in 1536, only the most indigent, corrupt or otherwise decrepit houses were closed down immediately following an official visitation.It was probably in the autumn of 1538 that he moved to the Augustinian abbey of Holy Cross at Waltham in Essex; the closeness of the abbot s London house to the church of St Mary-at-Hill may help to explain this m ove.

He may even have met some of the Chapel Royal singers in a professional capacity: several times during the 1510s and 20s some of them had sung at St Mary s on major feast days, and it is possible that this practice continued in the 1530s.

Whatever its attractions, London proved to be only a staging post for Tallis.

Tallis was undoubtedly the greatest of the 16th century composers; in craftsmanship, versatility and intensity of expression, the sheer uncluttered beauty and drama of his music reach out and speak directly to the listener.

It is surprising that hitherto so little of Tallis s music has been regularly performed and that so much is not satisfactorily published.

On the other hand, the fact that the priory employed a lay organist at all could be taken to imply quite a serious commitment to music.

In addition, Dover was a cell or dependent house of Canterbury Cathedral, which was itself a Benedictine priory.

This compact disc is the first in a series of nine which will cover Tallis s complete surviving output from his five decades of composition, and will include the contrafacta, the secular songs and the instrumental music much of wh i ch is as ye t unrecorded.

Great attention is being paid to performance detail i n cl u d i ng pitch, p ronunciation and the music s liturgical context.

Thomas Tallis - The Complete Works Tallis is dead and music dies.

So wrote William Byrd, Tallis s most distinguished pupil, capturing the esteem and veneration in which Tallis was held by his fellow composers and musical colleagues in the 16th century and, indeed, by the four monarchs he served at the Chapel Royal.

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.