"Recordings by Cardinalls Musick of William Byrds work have been a landmark worthy of one of Englands greatest masters." (The Guardian)The Cardinalls Musick
are acknowledged as the foremost performers of Byrds 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 Byrds 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 Byrds genius this difficult situation gave rise to one of his most fertile periods. The Great Service was described as the finest unaccompanied setting of the Service in the entire repertory of English church music upon its discovery in 1922. Written for ten voices, it is gorgeously lavish and grandvery 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 Byrds genius for word-painting, his typically Elizabethan wit and of course his imaginative handling of polyphony.
The singing is neat,clear and fluid. Performance **** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine, Christmas'12
...the performances overall are excellent and the disc is a fine continuation of the group's Bryd Edition. --Gramophone, Christmas'12
This new recording is something special. Whether it s because of the sheer experience of having sung so much of Byrd's music as to have assimilated his musical language utterly, or whether it s a simply the raw musicianship and cultivated and intelligence of the performers, there s a clarity and intensity in each verse that is spine-tingling. --IRR, Dec'12