Master Tallis's Testament No.3 from Six Pieces for Organ. Composed in 1940, Master Tallis's Testament unfolds Quasi lento, teneramente in a gentle six-eight rhythm and in G minor. It consists of three variants of a theme which falls into three phrases (eight plus six plus four bars). The music rises gradually to a climax at the end of the third variant. A quiet echo of the last two bars supplies a coda and a peaceful ending in the major. The piece is one which its composer regards as most typical and with particular affection. Its title, which pays tribute to a father of English cathedral music, allies it to the twenty-four pieces contained in Howells' two sets of clavichord pieces, the twelve of Lambert's Clavichord (the Lambert not being the composer Constant, but the Bath photographer Herbert who, in the Twenties, published a set of portraits of British composers (including Howells) and the twelve of Howells' Clavichord (1951), the separate titles similarly evoke those of the Elizabethan Virginalists.
© 1977 Felix Aprahamian