Christ Church Cathedral Choir (Oxford) - Byrd

Saturday 1st June 1991
Christ Church Cathedral Choir (Oxford) - Byrd

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Nimbus

Reviewed by Dave Massey

William Byrd was a devoutly Catholic composer living in the rather precarious days of Henry Vlll's reformation of England. This setting of Byrds Mass incorporates the propers for the feast of Corpus Christi - a feast that marks the end of the liturgical year and was a time to reflect and meditate upon the events that led up to Christ's gift to mankind. The first setting is one of the most beautiful on this album entitled 'Cibavit Eos.' It celebrates God's provision for his people with the 'richest of wheat' and 'honey from the rock' a 'type' of course of the communion and God's provision of his son's body and blood for his people. Unusually Byrd sets this in the sparkling, bright mixolydian mode giving it a real celebratory feel. The 'Sacerdotes Domini';(Priests of the Lord offer incense etc) is a masterpiece of counterpoint - simple and graceful almost effortless blending of musical The whole work is a celebration of 'sacrifice' and one that shows Byrd's deep and personal understanding of communion. The Cathedral Choir under the direction of Stephen Darlington give a polished and intimate performance appropriate incidentally to the historical setting which would most nave been in a family Chapel.

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