One of my all-time favorite anthems will be sung this week at the communion: “O sacrum convivium,” by the English Renaissance composer, Thomas Tallis (1505-1585).
- O sacrum convivium! in quo Christus sumitur: recolitur memoria passionis ejus: mens impletur gratia: et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur. Alleluia.
- O sacred banquet! in which Christ is received, the memory of his Passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory to us is given. Alleluia.
This is a “public domain” piece Carl music-typeset over twenty years ago because the only performing edition of the music went out of print. It languished in our Ionian Arts inventory for years and years, then two years ago, it was chosen as one of the choral pieces for the Kansas All-State Honor Choir! We sold over 4000 copies of this anthem within the space of about three months, and it became the best-selling anthem of our entire catalog. Poor Thomas Tallis —since he’s been dead and gone for over four hundred years, he didn’t get a cent out of it.
One of Thomas Tallis’ most famous works is “Spem in alium,” a motet for eight five-part choirs, or 40 independent voices. I think there have been several attempts to perform this work in Honolulu but as far as I know, none have been successful.
In addition to “O sacrum convivium,” the offertory anthem will be “Blessed are those that be undefiled.” For the organ music, I’ll be playing works by François Couperin (1668-1733)