William Byrd, The Cardinall's Musick - The Byrd Edition 5: The Masses

Tuesday 1st May 2001
William Byrd, The Cardinall's Musick - The Byrd Edition 5: The Masses

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

There is much to appreciate about this album. The notes give a useful introduction to the career of William Byrd, who was an English Roman Catholic living through the dangers of the Reformation. This helps to explain why his music is almost Minimalist: the day of the monastery was over and Mass, if it could be celebrated at all, had to be simple. So here we have three Masses, for three, four and five voices, sung by The Cardinall's Musick, plus two Fantasias, and a Voluntary, played by Patrick Russill on the organ. Throughout the. musicianship is of the highest and Byrd's settings of the Latin text are memorable.

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