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Tredegar to premiere Tallis masterpiece

Tredegar Band to give the world premiere of a brass band arrangement of the Thomas Tallis masterpiece 'Spem in Alium' at Llandaff Cathedral in May

  Tredegar's latest musical venture sees them go back to 1570 and the music of Thomas Tallis

Tredegar Band's well earned reputation for musical creativity will see them look back in time to explore music from one of Britain's greatest composers for a major concert performance at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff in May.

Already renowned for their forays into ballet, film and Parliament where they will be performing in July, on this occasion they shift the musical boundaries back to the music of Thomas Tallis with the world premiere performance of his majestic 40-part motet, 'Spem in Alium'.

Crowning glory

Written around 1570 for an ensemble consisting of eight quintets containing a soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass, the opening line, 'Spem in alium nunquam habui' ('I have never put my hope in any other') — has a direct spiritual link — one that will resonate magnificently in the historic surroundings of the Cathedral with it celebrated nave structure, 'Christ in Majesty' by Jacob Epstein.

It is regarded as Tallis' crowning glory, a magnificent exhibition of his craft, but perhaps its most overwhelming quality is its sheer musical power.

Extra performers

Tredegar's solo horn Chris Davies has made a special brass band arrangement of the work which will feature the band augmented by extra performers.

"Tallis is a fascinating composer", he said. "He lived through the upheaval of the reformation — something reflected in his musical output which changed in style to suit the religious and political needs of the time.

I first heard 'Spem in Alium' performed at a church, where all forty singers surrounded the congregation. It was an incredible experience — and something we are hoping to recreate ourselves.

It is regarded as Tallis' crowning glory, a magnificent exhibition of his craft, but perhaps its most overwhelming quality is its sheer musical power4BR

Tallis centrepiece

The work will form the centrepiece of a concert that will also include other works inspired by the composer such as 'Tallis Variations' by Philip Sparke and Peter Graham's 'Prelude on Tallis'.

The band will also be joined by the renowned Palestrina Singers of Cardiff University, who specialise in early music.

MD Ian Porthouse added: "This is another example of how the band is determined to seek out new musical horizons and showcase the versatility of the highest quality brass band music making.

To perform it in the evocative setting of Llandaff Cathedral is something special, so we hope we can attract as many people as possible to come along and enjoy the experience with us."

Place, date, time and tickets

Spem in Alium
Saturday May 19th

Tickets are priced at £12 for adults, and £10 for concessions

Buy tickets:



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Mike Sheppard

B.A. (Hons) Music
Composer, conductor, teacher, author