Byrd: The Great Service & Anthems
Label: Linn Records
ODYSSEAN ENSEMBLE CAREY WILSON
The Odyssean Ensemble’s impressive debut recording features the Great Service of William Byrd, a rather neglected work of genius interspersed with some contemporaneous anthems. Uniquely the Odyssean Ensemble performs the piece in a new performing edition created by Byrd expert Andrew Johnstone, who also contributes fascinating booklet notes. Accompanied by a reconstructed Goetze & Gwynn Tudor organ (the St Teilo organ, expertly played by Christian Wilson), director Colm Carey leads listeners into Byrd’s rich and colourful sound world. The music in the Great Service is of unparalleled proportions and inexhaustible variety; Byrd vividly represents the text at every opportunity stimulating the listener’s imagination. The Great Service encapsulates the canticles that were sung during the services of Matins and Evensong, which made up an important part of Cranmer’s newly created Book of Common Prayer of 1549. This recording continues the Odyssean Ensemble’s exploration of English music of the 16th century, perhaps one of the golden eras of musical composition.