Why fumeth in fight (Psalm 2:1-2) – Thomas Tallis


Thomas Tallis, c. 1505–1585
Thomas Tallis, c. 1505–1585 (Image via Wikipedia)

Psalm 2:1-2

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed,

[Psalter text by Archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker:]

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.

Why fumeth in fight (published in 1567), the third of nine tunes contributed by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585) for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter. As Parker described it, “The third doth rage: and roughly bray’th.” Nearly 350 years later, it was the inspiration for Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

Thomas Tallis: Tunes for Archbishop Parker's Psalter

Performed by Alamire, directed by David Skinner

Vaughan Williams - Fantasia sobre un tema de Thomas Tallis HQ

Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Davis
“At the Gloucester Cathedral (where it in 1910 was played for the first time and conducted by Vaughan Williams himself)”


MP3: Third Tune: Why fum’th in fight, performed by Stile Antico, from the album Heavenly Harmonies / Harmonia Mundi


Choral Public Domain Library

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