Tallis Scholars on top after 50 Shades of Grey effect

16 July 2012, 12:13 | Updated: 16 July 2012, 12:21

After a hotly contested battle between Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti, and the Tallis Scholars, Tallis’ ‘Spem in alium’ has claimed the No. 1 spot of the Classical Singles Chart.

The Tallis Scholars are celebrating an unexpected shake-up of the Classical Singles Charts, as their recording of Thomas Tallis’ Spem in alium reached the top of the official Classical Singles Chart this week. The piece has risen steadily after being featured in 50 Shades of Grey, the controversial erotic novel by E L James.

So many readers have been inspired to download the beautiful 40-part piece that it has knocked star tenor Luciano Pavarotti off the top spot. His recording of ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Puccini's opera Turandot has held the No. 1 position for the past three weeks.

It’s no wonder Tallis’ piece is selling so well, after being featured in the fastest selling novel since Harry Potter. The raunchy tale is flying from the shelves, surpassing more than 1million sales each week in e-book and print format.

Author E L James said: “I am delighted to have introduced so many of my readers to this amazing 16th century piece of music. It is absolutely wonderful and the recording from the Tallis Scholars is particularly special.”

Director of the Tallis Scholars, Peter Philips has not read the novel, but said he was most grateful to E L James for introducing so many new people to the Latin choral work, composed around 1572.

“I am thrilled that Spem in alium has attracted such a large new audience,” he said. “It is one of the most remarkable achievements of the human brain, an extra-ordinary and moving piece written for 40 individual singers.”

It’s not only the Tallis Scholars' recording of Spem in alium which is climbing the chart. The Sixteen’s version has charted at No. 14 for the past two weeks.