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Byrd: Consort Songs / Emma Kirkby, Fretwork


Release Date: 02/08/2005 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 907383   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

No question, these consort songs by William Byrd are a specialty area of the vocal repertoire visited primarily by early music aficionados and, in this case, will be of interest to fans of the singer, whose illustrious and influential career has spanned most of the era of the modern "period-practice" movement. Emma Kirkby's clear, unadorned vocal quality and needle-sharp intonation, combined with scrupulous attention to tasteful ornamentation and interpretation based on intuitive sense as well as musicological evidence has gained her respect as well as admiration for her distinctive, often virtuoso renditions, from early songs to Baroque oratorio and opera. Here, in consort with the viol ensemble Fretwork, she offers heartfelt, Read more vibrant performances that effectively portray texts while never losing touch with the songs' lovely and preeminently vocal characteristics.


While these are essentially songs--there are several purely instrumental selections as well--the balance tends to give a bit too much weight to the viols, which results in an unduly thick-textured and less-than-ideal forward instrumental presence. Nevertheless, Kirkby is a formidable interpreter--commanding, facile, graceful--and it's interesting to hear her darker, richer vocal quality in some songs alongside her trademark unaffected, young-girlish sound elsewhere. For another take on Byrd's songs--with only a couple of repertoire duplications, but with better balance between voice and instruments--listen to countertenor Robin Blaze and the ensemble Concordia (Hyperion), where the lute is sparingly but effectively used in certain selections. In the final analysis, serious Byrd and Kirkby fans will have no choice but to buy this; if you're just looking for one first-rate collection of Byrd songs, go for the Blaze.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
O Lord, bow down by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 5 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
2.
My mistress had a little dog by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 6 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
3.
O you that hear this voice by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 6 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
4.
Content is rich by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 5 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
5.
O that most rare breast by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1588; England 
Date of Recording: 01/12/2004 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 8 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: English 
6.
My mind to me a kingdom is by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1588; England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 5 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
7.
Constant Penelope by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
8.
Truth at the first by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
9.
While Phoebus us'd to dwell by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
10.
He that all earthly pleasure scorns by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
11.
Out of the orient crystal skies by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 01/12/2004 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: English 
12.
O Lord, how vain by William Byrd
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1623; England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 6 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
13.
Fantasia a 6 no 2 in G minor by William Byrd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
14.
Fantasia a 6 no 3 by William Byrd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 4 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
15.
Pavan and Galliard a 6 in C major by William Byrd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 
16.
Fantasia ŕ 4 in G major "In manus tuas" by William Byrd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: after 1605; England 
Venue:  St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk (01/12/2004 - 01/15/2004) 

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