MEDIA RELEASE: Thomas Tallis' England

The music & the music it inspired

2018 season opener features expanded Australian Brandenburg Orchestra strings, the ethereal voices of the Brandenburg Choir singing Tallis & Byrd, plus the return of young star countertenor Max Riebl.
Concert climaxes with Vaughan Williams' cinematic Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, after a performance of the work written three and a half centuries previously that inspired it.

Almost 118 years ago, a nervous Ralph Vaughan Williams conducted the world premiere of his latest work Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis in Gloucester Cathedral. He may not have been so nervous if he had the ability to see into the future. His soaring masterpiece went on to become one of the most loved hits in British music history.

In a rare foray into the 20th century, Paul Dyer and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra will open their 2018 season with Thomas Tallis’ England, and will this landmark work.

On the same bill, the Brandenburg Choir will sing the music by Thomas Tallis (c1505 – 1585) that inspired the Fantasia, and fast-rising star countertenor Max Riebl makes a welcome return to the Brandenburg stage as soloist.


The legacy of Tallis was monumental and will be the common thread woven through this concert of English masterworks by his contemporaries and later composers he inspired – Byrd, Gibbons and Purcell (who in turn inspired musicians of more modern times, such as Michael Nyman, Pet Shop Boys, Jethro Tull and The Who, for example).


The concert also includes music by Handel, the iconic German who took on British citizenship and was a major celebrity in his adopted home of London.


Paul Dyer, Artistic Director says: “I urge everyone not to miss hearing the Brandenburg Strings perform the epic and cinematic Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. It will be an amazing concert experience. Its regularly voted in radio station polls as one of the favourites of all classical music works for good reason – it’s beautiful and emotional, and just soars! I’ve always wanted us to play it.
“The breathtaking and sublime music Thomas Tallis wrote 450 years ago that inspired the Fantasia it is absolutely ‘to die for’ and will be sung by the Brandenburg Choir. We’re starting 2018 off with Thomas Tallis’ England and I can’t think of a more perfect way to herald in the year ahead.”


Max Riebl says: “I can’t wait to get back on the Brandenburg stage and perform this music with Paul, the orchestra and choir. They’ve all been such an important part of my singing career and they’re great mates as well. I’ll be singing two beautiful songs by Gibbons, from the late Tudor/early Jacobean period and an aria from Handel’s opera Orlando with lots of vocal fireworks. I’m probably most looking forward to singing Cold Song from Purcell’s King Arthur, a gut-wrenching masterpiece that is simultaneously epic and minimalist.”


Steven Godbee Publicity or 0408 706 099


City Recital Hall
Wed 21, Fri 23, Wed 28 Feb, Fri 2, 
Sat 3 Mar at 7PM
Matinee Sat 3 Mar at 2PM
Ph: 1300 782 856 / 
(02) 9328 7581

Melbourne Recital Centre
Sat 24 Feb at 7PM
Sun 25 Feb at 5PM
Ph: 1300 782 856 / 
(02) 9328 7581
Or after 12 noon on Fri 22 Feb
Melbourne Recital Centre Box Office
Ph: (03) 9699 3333


· Winner of the 2017 Herald Sun Aria competition and a string of prizes in competitions in Australia, UK and USA.
· First sang on the Brandenburg stage as a year 12 student with the Melbourne Grammar School Chapel Choir. 
· Was a member of the Brandenburg Choir before embarking on his solo carer.
· Studied baroque and early music at the Schola Cantorium Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland.
· His solo show The Great Pretender (singing music by Bach, Elvis, Judy Garland, Morrissey and more) has won him scores of new fans in Melbourne and Adelaide in recent months.
· Sang as a boy soprano soloist with the Vienna Chamber Opera and various groups in Austria.
· Comes from a musical family. His siblings are Felix Riebl (The Cat Empire) and classical pianist Rosie Riebl.
· Is very focused on strength training and powerlifting, which physically gives him a vocal power and sound that is unique amongst countertenors.
· Lives in Melbourne with his wife and young daughter.

Members of the Brandenburg Choir

GIBBONS Prelude in G Major
BYRD Ave verum corpus
GIBBONS Drop, drop slow tears / The silver swan / Great Lord of Lords / Hosanna to the Son of David
PURCELL Overture & Rondeau from Abdelazer / Cold Song from King Arthur
HANDEL Concerto Grosso, Op. 6/7: I Largo & II Allegro / Fammi combattere from Orlando
LOCKE Curtain Tune
TALLIS Why fumeth in sight from Tunes for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter / Agnus dei from Missa puer natus / If ye love me
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Artistic Director Paul Dyer with leaders of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra


Handel's Concerto Grosso, Op. 6/7: 1 Largo & II Allegro from the ABC Classics album Handel Concerto Grossi Opus 6
2009 ARIA Award Best Classical Album
2010 Limelight Award Best Classical Recording
Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice
Locke's Curtain Tune from the ABC Classics album If Love's A Sweet Passion: Masque & Theatre Music from C17 London

Brahms' in Stiller Nacht with Rosie Riebl piano
Purcell's O Solitude with Hugh Fullarton organ
and from his forthcoming EP
Bach's Es ist vollbracht
Buck Ram's The Great Pretender
with Ziggy Johnston guitar 
Ben Edgar instrumental & producer

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