Taverner: Quemadmodum (1st part)

CD Taverner

Very possibly dating from Taverner’s final years, this is a setting of the first verses of Psalm 41 (42) Quemadmodum, which survives in an untexted source as an instrumental work and stylistically seems to be his most mature composition. It may be that his Protestant leanings guided his pen to an instrumental rendition of what is clearly conceived as a vocal work; certainly the text fits the music quite seamlessly. While Tallis is credited, and rightly so, for steering English composition through the turbulent years of the Reformation, it is Taverner who was first to break free from traditional forms of early Tudor composition. Indeed, so forward thinking was he that Quemadmodum arguably stands beside anything produced in Mary I’s reign. Taverner, in life, was a quiet genius and his surviving music still maintains an emotional charge that can be felt by 21st-century hearts.