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Byrd: Cantiones Sacrae / Marlow, Trinity College Choir


Release Date: 05/22/2007 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 733   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Byrd’s exquisite collections of Cantiones sacrae were like no other books produced in Elizabethan England. Composers in mainland Europe – Palestrina, for example, wrote a steady stream of Latin motets and had them published in mass-market editions but Byrd was the first English composer to do the same. After the Latin liturgy was abolished by mid-sixteenth-century reformers, there was an understandable lack of demand for Latin sacred music among professional singers in England, when the motet resurfaced there, it did so as high-class chamber music for discerning performers, not as practical church music: Byrd's motets were therefore serious in mood, though were intended as vocal chamber music for domestic performance.

In his
Read more motets Byrd showed himself the equal of his French and Italian contemporaries as a contrapuntist. He was an innovator in form and technique in his liturgical work. H.K. Andrews described them as 'musically one of the great achievements of the century' Both volumes of Cantiones sacrae, Book I (29 motets) written in 1589, Book II (32 motets) in 1591are a testament to Byrd’s artistic talent. It would be difficult to find another Renaissance composer who managed to unite such a high level of technical skill with such deep insight into the varieties of human emotion, and the pieces on this CD offer a sampling of his art. Haec dies is a joyful Easter text sung just before the gospel of the Resurrection is proclaimed on Easter Sunday morning. Byrd’s use of lively triple rhythms and bright scoring (in six parts, with an extra tenor and soprano) adds to its brilliant effect. In resurrectione tua, another Easter motet, sparkles with a flourish of ornamentation in all voices. The crisp, intertwining melodies are very accessible. Laudibus in sanctis is unique among Byrd’s Latin motets. Its unusual words and its extrovert flair – reminiscent of an English madrigal – have combined to make it one of the most admired of his Cantiones. Byrd handles the endless parade of illustrations – trumpets, drums, organ music, dancing – with unfailing wit and technical facility.

Both books of Cantiones sacrae 1589 and 1591 are rarely available together which makes this collection all the more important.

R E V I E W S:

There is no one like Richard Marlow and the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge to revive a repertoire that is still reserved for a minority audience, able to enjoy the intricate patterns of the imitative counterpoint, the musical language of the most important monuments of Renaissance sacred music. -- Goldberg

After a brightly festive account of the celebratory ‘Haec dies’, the Trinity College singers seem to settle down into a deeply pensive mood, exuding calm and tranquillity, peace and goodwill and a certain comfortable softness which tends to waft around the room life incense burning in some dark chapel…. This is a lovely sounding disc and it is matched by a typically generous and sturdy booklet, with clear and nicely readable notes from Kerry McCarthy… quite magical -- International Record Review

The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge is adept at capturing the differing moods of the pieces. -- Gramophone

The vocalist’s ensemble and breath control permits not only the broadest of dynamic ranges, but also the quickest of contrasts and the lengthiest of crescendos. Marlow exploits this, shaping lines around Byrd’s superb word-settings, and the choir’s clarity of diction enhances the impact of Marlow’s phrasing…. The sound engineering matches that of the performance; single lines are as clearly audible as the choir’s hallmark blend. -- BBC Music Magazine

The performances are robust yet sensitive… and the recorded sound is sumptuous. This is a triumph for Marlow and his Trinity College Choir… -- International Record Review on Mendelssohn Sacred Choral Works Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Vigilate by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissaince 
Written: pub 1589; England 
2.
Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum: Haec dies by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; London, England 
3.
Cantiones sacrae, Book 2: Miserere mei, Deus by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1591; London, England 
4.
Liber primus sacrarum cantionum: Laetentur coeli by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1589; England 
5.
Liber secundum sacrarum cantionum: Salve Regina by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; England 
6.
Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum: Laudibus in sanctis by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; London, England 
7.
Liber primus sacrarum cantionum: Ne irascaris Domine by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1589; London, England 
8.
Liber primus sacrarum cantionum: In resurrectione tua by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Written: pub 1589 
9.
Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum: Domine, non sum dignus by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; England 
10.
Liber primus sacrarum cantionum: Domine, secundum multitudinem dolorum meorum by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1589; England 
11.
Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum: Domine, salva nos by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; England 
12.
Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum: Cantate Domino by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; England 
13.
Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum: Quis est homo? by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; London, England 
14.
Liber primus sacrarum cantionum: O quam gloriosum est regnum by William Byrd
Conductor:  Richard Marlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Written: pub 1589 

Sound Samples

Haec Dies: Sacred songs (Cantiones Sacrae), Book II:
Miserere mei, Deus: Sacred songs (Cantiones Sacrae), Book II:
Laetentur coeli
Laetentur coeli: Orietur in diebus tuis
Salve, Regina: -
Salve, Regina: Et Jesum
Laudibus in sanctis: -
Laudibus in sanctis: Magnificum Domini -
Laudibus in sanctis: Hunc arguta canant
Ne irascaris, Domine: -
Ne irascaris, Domine: Civitas sancti tui
In resurrectione tua: Sacred songs (Cantiones Sacrae), Book I:
Domine, non sum dignus: Sacred songs (Cantiones Sacrae), Book II:
Vigilate: Sacred songs (Cantiones Sacrae), Book I:
Domine, secundum multitudinem dolorum meorum: Sacred songs (Cantiones Sacrae), Book I:
Domine, salva nos: Sacred songs (Cantiones Sacrae), Book II:
Cantate Domino: Sacred songs (Cantiones Sacrae), Book II:
Quis est homo: -
Quis est homo: Diverre a malo
O quam gloriosum est regnum: -
O quam gloriosum est regnum: Benedictio, et claritas

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Byrd's marvelous music August 7, 2013 By John C M. (Weimar, TX) See All My Reviews "This is a remarkable disc. Byrd's music is glorious by nature and the choir does a grand job. English choirs normally do but this is overreaching their ability and pulling it off. Even if you don't appreciate this sort of music you should try this one. It's worth it." Report Abuse
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