Why Fum'th In Fight? [1:37] 3.5Mb

Thomas Tallis

Why fum'th in fight the Gentiles spite, in fury raging stout?
Why tak'th in hand the people fond, vain things to bring about?
The Kings arise, the Lords devise, in counsels met thereto,
against the Lord with false accord, against His Christ they go.

Written by Thomas Tallis in 1567, this short hymn was eventually harnessed for Ralph Vaughan-Williams' string masterpiece Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. The melody is played in four parts on the Mellotron choir and is in the Phrygian mode (which oddly enough is also the mode in which the Mellotron flamenco guitar opening to The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill is played) which gives the song a strangely unresolved air to it, as though it phrases a question that cannot be answered. Reading through the little libretto above it seems that this is exactly what it is.

This is also available on YouTube.

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