Byrd: Byrd Edition 2, The Cardinall's Musick

Album cover art for upc 743625017823
Label: ASV
Catalog: CDGAU178
Format: CD

Byrd Edition Volume 2 Byrd: Propers for Christmas Day The Cardinall’s Musick, Andrew Carwood

Gramophone Classical Music Guide 2010 “This second volume of The Cardinall's Musick's Byrd edition is, if anything, more impressive than the first. It may be a matter of programming, for the works recorded here seem to be of a higher overall calibre: even an obviously experimental piece such as O salutaris hostia could have been included on merit alone – yet this appears to be its first recording. Complete surveys sometimes turn up items of lesser interest, yet they also allow one to hear pieces that might have difficulty in finding a home elsewhere: witness the responsory, In exitu Israel, an intriguing collaborative effort by Byrd and his contemporaries, Mundy and Sheppard. Finally, one can judge for oneself the authenticity of works that modern scholarship has deemed doubtful (such as the opening Ave regina caelorum). Most of the pieces here involve male altos on the top line. The centrepiece is a collection of Propers from the Gradualia of 1607, this time for the Nativity. As on their first set, Skinner's and Carwood's decision to structure each volume around a set of Propers proves an astute piece of programming, integrating shorter items as it does (such as the various Alleluia settings) within a framework that allows them their own space. The singers are on very fine form indeed. It takes confidence to carry off Osalutaris hostia, whose fierce false relations could so easily have sounded merely wilful. Only in the final, extended settings does the pace flag: the disc's last moments are rather ponderous. That aside, this is a disc to delight Byrd-lovers everywhere.”

Price: $19.98