Artist News

50 Shades Of Grey propels sixteenth century chant to classical number one

By | Published on Tuesday 17 July 2012

The Tallis Scholars

Erotic novel ’50 Shades Of Grey’ has now seen its grasp on popular culture stretch to music, after a piece of sixteenth century choral music, described as being listened to by one of the book’s characters during one of its bondage scenes, appeared at number one in the Official Classical Singles Chart this weekend.

The Tallis Scholars’ recording of Thomas Tallis’ 1570s piece ‘Spem In Alium’ has been rising up the classical countdown for the last six weeks, eventually bringing Luciano Pavarotti’s recent three week run at the top of the chart to an end on Sunday.

’50 Shades Of Grey’ author EL James told “I am delighted to have introduced so many of my readers to this amazing sixteenth century piece of music. It is absolutely wonderful and the recording from the Tallis Scholars is particularly special. A deserved number one!”

Meanwhile Peter Phillips, director of The Tallis Scholars, added: “I am thrilled that ‘Spem In Alium’ has attracted such a large new audience. It is one of the most remarkable achievements of the human brain, an extra-ordinary and moving piece written for 40 individual singers. After performing ‘Spem In Alium’ for nearly 40 years I still cannot conceive how Thomas Tallis set about writing it. Even with 21st century computers it would be a daunting task! For me it ranks alongside the best works of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and confirms Tallis as England’s greatest composer”.

The Official Classical Singles Chart was launched in May of this year to reflect the growing trend for classical music to be bought as single tracks, rather than full albums. “It shows the changing ways in which classical fans are buying their music”, said Official Charts Company MD Martin Talbot.

Listen to The Tallis Scholars’ recording of ‘Spem In Alium’ here: