By John Y. Lawrence
Early music fans got an early gift of the Christmas season on Sunday afternoon when The Tallis Scholars came to Hyde Park. As part of the University of Chicago Presents’ Howard Mayer Brown International Early Music Series, the storied vocal ensemble presented a program titled “A Renaissance Christmas” at Rockefeller Chapel.
The Tallis Scholars and conductor Peter Phillips, who founded the group in 1973, are often hailed as the preeminent interpreters of Palestrina. Thus, it was little surprise to find that composer at the center of the program, represented by his motet “Hodie Christus natus est” and his mass of the same name based on that motet.