THOMAS TALLIS (1505-1585) is known as the father of English cathedral music. He was clearly the most influential musical figure in the English church in the Tudor period. In favor with the royalty, he was well supported by Queen Mary and others, and he composed in all the languages in use at the time, though he remained an unreformed Roman Catholic. He was the teacher of William Byrd, who followed Tallis as one of the luminaries of his day.
Tallis’ setting of the Magnificat (The Song of Mary) is one of many canticle settings used in the centuries-old service of Evensong. Music of the Tudor English composers remains a staple of Anglican choral literature throughout the English-speaking world.
MARTIN HOW (born 1931) is a British composer and organist. Born in Liverpool and later educated at Clare College, Cambridge, he read Music and Theology. He has spent most of his career with the Royal School of Church Music where he was known principally as a choir trainer specializing in the training and motivation of young singers. In this capacity he initiated and developed the RSCM Chorister Training Scheme which has since been used in various forms in many parts of the world. He also inaugurated the RSCM Southern Cathedral Singers, a group which has been broadcast frequently on BBC Radio’s Choral Evensong from Canterbury Cathedral and elsewhere.
His compositions for treble choirs are sung throughout the Anglican communion. The anthem sung here by the Epiphany Choristers is a setting of the RSCM Choristers’ Prayer: “Bless, O Lord, us thy servants, who minister in your temple. Grant that what we sing with our lips we believe in our hearts, and what be believe in our hearts we show forth in our lives. through Jesus Christ our Lord.”