O sacrum convivium

Thomas Tallis (1505-1585)

Thomas Tallis (1505-1585)

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)

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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2 Responses to O sacrum convivium

  1. David Kayner says:

    I don’t know about the criteria for “success” for a performance of Spem in Alium, but I do remember having fun 30 years ago: copying the music at a friend’s law office after business hours (somewhat less than legally) so that each of the 8 choirs had cues from the choirs on either side of them, assembling 40+ people at St Andrew’s Cathedral to give a couple of read throughs while another friend yelled out measure numbers, and afterwards eating & drinking at least enough in the VonHolt Room and making a racket that must have raised some official eyebrows at Washington Place. Weren’t you there??? I understand that another friend (a sometime Compline choir singer) dircted a performance at First Hawaiian Bank around the turn of the century — I would imagine, “successfully” by most standards.

    • Katherine Crosier says:

      Yes, I was there for both of those “attempts” and at least on my end, it was disastrous. I was COMPLETELY lost!!

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