Byrd expressed his feelings and those of the persecuted Catholic community in Elizabethan England through carefully chosen texts from the scriptures.In the works on this CD the source is largely from the Psalms. The exceptional genius of this great composer was his ability to convey these feelings through sublime music. The variety of mood and sound is "earboggling". Examples. Joy. The final track and title of the CD "Laudibus in Sanctis" : rapid repetition and imitation gives the impression that the voices are peeling bells giving praise to the Lord. Anguish / plea for mercy imparted by the low scoring and more "contemplative" music of "Tribulatio proxima est" and "Domine, exaudi orationem meam, inclina". The Cardinall's Musick combine scholastic excellence with sublime singing making this CD and indeed the whole series a unique musical and cultural experience.
If you were ever looking for one disc to use as an introduction to Byrd, this is it.With performances that have a very satisfying mixture of the contemplative with a feeling and drive that suggests that these sublime pieces are meant as praise to the almighty,important features of the mass and not just attractive soundwashes to be admired in passing. The Cardinall's Music are 12 strong group, but such is their clarity of diction and beauty of tone that the musical and spiritual effect would suggest that much bigger forces are at work then is really the case.
To add the boon that the collection represents,the recording is first rate and very natural sounding, texts are included as is a helpful essay by Andrew Carwood.So couple great artistry with beautiful music and you have as is the case here,an irresistible set, worthy of any collection. If you want a really in-depth review of this superb disc go to musicwebinternational and consult the interesting and very detailed review by Michael Greenhalgh.
This is Volume 10 of The Cardinall's Musick's complete Byrd Edition and it maintains the outstanding quality of the previous discs. The music in this volume is from the Cantiones Sacrae of 1591 and the Gradualia of 1605. It is a lovely, varied programme of some of Byrd's truly great and innovative music. Byrd's position as a recusant Catholic in Protestant England is often reflected in both texts and music. Isolation and joy are both here, and it was a quite remarkable act to publish this setting of Salve Regina at such a time. Thank heavens he did: it's a truly wonderful piece among many other gems here. As a sample of Byrd's finest music, you couldn't do a lot better, I think.
The performances are, as always from The Cardinall's Musick, simply fabulous. Technically perfect, the group show a marvellous empathy for and understanding of Byrd's music, and the combination of this and the excellent recording in a resonant acoustic which complements but never blurs the sound produces something really special.
Every disc in this outstanding series has been a gem. This is no exception and I recommend it very highly indeed