Notes and Editorial Reviews
ĎRecordings by Cardinallís Musick of William Byrdís work have been a landmark worthy of one of Englandís greatest mastersí (The Guardian)
The Cardinallís Musick are acknowledged as the foremost performers of Byrdís music. Under their director Andrew Carwood they have recorded the complete Latin church music, the final volume of which won the Gramophone Record of the Year. Now they turn to Byrdís English church music, a genre which shows the composer treading a path between his own innate Catholicism and the requirements of the reformed Church of England. But far from sublimating Byrdís genius this difficult situation gave rise to one of his most fertile periods.
The Great Service was described as Ďthe finest
unaccompanied setting of the Service in the entire repertory of English church musicí upon its discovery in 1922. Written for ten voices, it is gorgeously lavish and grandóvery different to the simple, unmelismatic style demanded by the Anglican clerics. Byrd did not publish it in his lifetime.
Also recorded here are five beautiful English settings on sacred themes, but probably written for performance in the home. They are masterpieces in miniature: each work is so distinctive and demonstrates Byrdís genius for word-painting, his typically Elizabethan wit and of course his imaginative handling of polyphony.
Works on This Recording
Great Service by William Byrd
Written: by 1590; England
Featured Sound Samples
The Great Service: Venite
Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets... fit for Voyces or Viols: Turn our captivity, O Lord
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