Join the Bath Box Office mailing list to get regular updates about the arts in Bath.


Spem in alium

A UK-Dutch concert. Tallis 40-part motet plus Howells, Sweelinck, Panufnik and others

Our Lady and St. Alphege

Paragon Singers, in company with Dutch chamber choir Het Lelikoor from Amsterdam are performing the wonderful Spem in alium by Thomas Tallis. Also known as the 40-Part Motet, Tallis’s memorable piece is a landmark in the repertoire of Renaissance polyphony. Written for eight choirs of five voices, Tallis was inspired by his Italian counterpart Striggio, who had written a mass for 40 voices a few years before. It is believed that the two composers met in London and in the wake of this encounter the Duke of Norfolk challenged Tallis to write a work for similar forces.

The singers will be ranged around the church for maximum dramatic and vocal effect. A single voice in the first choir starts the piece – ‘I have never put my hope in any but in You, O God of Israel – other voices are gradually added, creating waves of sound around the space, sometimes full-bodied and sumptuous, sometimes intimate. There is a spine-tingling punctuation point to listen out for, part way through the eight-minute piece when all forty voices come together and then are momentarily silent before resuming.

As well as the monumental Spem, we will also perform the Requiem Aeterna I movement from Herbert Howells’ Requiem, Love Endureth by the contemporary composer Roxanna Panufnik, and Miserere mei by the Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. Lelikoor will bring us Dutch and Flemish pieces, including Salve Regina by Jacob Obrecht. 

Join us for a memorable concert of beautiful music.



Spem in alium