The life of Thomas Tallis is a mirror of the musical effects of the Anglican Reformation in England. During the reign of King Edward VI (1547-1553) it was mandated that the services be sung in English, and that the choral music be brief and succinct "to each syllable a plain and distinct note".
Verily, verily is an example of this new English anthem: mainly homophonic, but with brief moments of imitation. The text comes from Jesus' mystical words to the disciples regarding the Bread of Life (John 6:53-56). He retains throughout the piece a simple chordal style, though both his melodies and harmonies subtly and effectively reflect the sense of the text.
© Ryan Turner