Tallis' Canon (Thomas Tallis, arr. Philip Sparke)

Little is known about the early life and career of English composer Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-85) but, following posts as organist in Dover and Canterbury, he was elected to the Chapel Royal in 1543. He subsequently served Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I, therefore managing to change styles when needed to placate both Protestant and Catholic monarchs. Queen Elizabeth I granted him (together with William Byrd) a 21-year monopoly to print and publish polyphonic music.

He contributed nine new tunes to a 1567 psalter compiled by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker. These include his famous Third Mode Melody and Ordinal, as well as this well-known Canon, set to Psalm 67, ‘God Grant we Grace’.

This concert band arrangement presents for verses of the hymn; the first is in the form of a canon, the second for the brass, the third for the woodwinds and the last for full band.