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Suscipe quaeso

strong>Thomas Tallis (c1505-1585)

Suscipe quaeso

The fact that the unusual seven-voice texture and scoring of the Mass Puer natus are also found in the motet Suscipe quaeso has prompted the suggestion that they are in some way linked, although they lack other obvious similarities. As Jeremy Noble and Paul Doe have suggested, the strongly penitential quality of the text and the sombre vocal texture could have suited the ceremony in which Cardinal Pole absolved England from schism in November 1554. Several features of the setting, for example the dramatic rising minor sixth at ‘quaeso’ in the opening phrase, the emphatic homophony at each iteration of ‘peccavi’, and the repetition of the rhetorical questions ‘Quis sustineat’ and ‘Qui se dicere audeat’, seem to have led Tallis into an unusually close engagement with his text.

Nick Sandon

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