This concert took place on 29 May without a live audience: 🎟️🎫 with your ticket (€5) you can follow the livestream or replay the concert on demand until 29 June.

Divine grandeur as opposed to human nothingness – a concept that art so often tries to convey, but is experienced intensely thanks mainly to music.

A few grand liturgical works for 40 voices contrast in this programme with fragile secular treasures for gamba consort and soprano. As different as these may be, the human being – and the human voice – is and remains the driving force in both worlds.

Giving sound to the divine with nothing more than the human voice seems contradictory, but it is not. The monumental heavens become almost tangible in the impressive vocal sculptures that resound from 40 voices.

Thomas Tallis’ iconic Spem in alium will leave you, after barely 10 minutes, with an unforgettable, almost physical experience: he opens with a thin, almost hesitant single imploring voice. In order to build up on to that foundation, the sounds roll from choi to choir, like echoes bouncing between and among and over the singers and the audience. Proud of his skill, he ended the prayer of imploration with the power of all 40 voices together: 'Regard our humility!'.

The contrast with the nothingness of the human being in the intimate works for gamba consort and soprano makes the sense of divine grandeur all the greater.


Thomas Tallis, Spem in Alium
Ralph Vaughan Williams, Mass in G Minor
Stephen Wilkinson, The Garden
Philippus de Monte, Super Flumina Babylonis
Charles Tessier, Air espagnol: No ay en la tierra
John Dowland, Flow My Tears / Can She Excuse My Wrongs
William Byrd, Quomodo cantabimus / Ye Sacred Muses

discover more

bbc podcast

BBC's Soul Music Podcast explores Tallis's elaborate and spectacular Spem in Alium.

listen to this podcast

programme booklet

Want to learn more about the music and the artists? Read the lyrics? Download your programme booklet.

download programme booklet


This concert will take place in the concert hall without a live audience: you can watch the concert via the livestream.

🎟️🎫 with your ticket (€5) you can follow the livestream or replay the concert on demand until June 29.

livestream in collaboration with Evil Penguin TV
with the support of Belga Films Fund and the Belgian Tax Shelter