Saturday, February 27, 2010

A couple of informational updates

  • Vis-a-vis my Omnes de Saba post earlier this year, and the discussion of "Why Sheba?", Derek notes that: 
    Saba [Sheba] was also used colloquilly in combination with Tarshish to refer to the two ends of the earth. Tarshish was as far west as you could go; Saba as far east.
    Always great to have a cultural reference point like that.  Thanks, Derek!
  • And in re: the Tallis "I call and cry to thee (O Sacrum Convivium)", about which I'd originally written that:
    And indeed, it seems that this was originally a setting of that antiphon [O Sacrum Convivium], but Tallis used an English text instead after the Reformation, once English was made the language of the church (and Latin unofficially banished).
    Our choirmaster told me that in fact, many people - he among them - believe that it was the other way around:  that the English words were written first, and the O Sacrum Convivium version actually came later.  Why?  For a very simple reason that a choirmaster would be the first to recognize:  the English words fit much better with the music.

1 comment:

Sir Watkin said...

It seems improbable that the English text came first.

With a metrical text it might be plausible, but it's unlikely that Tallis composed music for an English prose text that just happened to match the irregular (non-metrical) syllabification and stresses of the well-known Corpus Christi Magnificat antiphon O sacrum convivium.

Much more likely that someone concocted an English text to fit music already written for the Latin.


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