St. James Music Press

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Thomas Tallis Purge Me, O Lord

Anthems, RSCM Publications
Unaccompanied [a cappella], Keyboard [organ/piano]
Suggested Uses(s)

SATB a cappella. Penitential, straightforward, and beautiful.

Notes: Thomas Tallis’ contributions to the musical repertoire of the early Anglican church masterfully combine a declamatory style with simple imitative polyphony, always conforming to the requirement that words be intelligible and not treated in too ornate a fashion. Intelligibility is also key to a good performance. Set a speed in which the words are not very gabbled (anticipate the dangers of bar 18, for example): a four-in-a-bar pulse rather than two-in-a-bar would be appropriate here.

Beware of E flats and E naturals: the tonality of this motet shifts between the old Dorian mode (with E naturals) and a more modern sounding G minor. As with all of Tallis’ English works, it is unnecessary to force an elaborate dynamic scheme onto the music, though choir directors may like to create a contrast in the repeat of the final section, either with an echo effect or perhaps with a louder, reaffirmation of the material.

Purge me, O Lord, from all my sin, and save thou me by faith from ill, that I may rest and dwell in thee, upon thy holy blessed hill. And that done, grant that with true heart I may without hipocrisy affirm the truth, detract no man, but do all things with equity.


Mark Schweizer
P.O. Box 249
Tryon, North Carolina 28782
Phone 828.859.0323
Toll Free 877.822.0304


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