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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Forty-part harmony

"Spem In Alium" sounds like it ought to be on the menu for school dinner. It is in fact a motet by Thomas Tallis and one of the most profoundly haunting pieces of music you will ever hear. Radio Four's "Soul Music" examined how it is constructed and talked to people who've been affected by it. I liked the idea of the human rights lawyer drawing upon it while defending an apparently hopeless case in Alabama. You can listen to the programme here.