Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Matthew Brook, Roderick Williams, Roderick Brook|
Byrd: The Caged Bird
Genres: Pop, Classical
Although these days Byrd is mostly known for his vast output of sacred choral works, he contributed a considerable number of secular and instrumental pieces to the repertoire, and this disc includes a variety of works in... more »
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Although these days Byrd is mostly known for his vast output of sacred choral works, he contributed a considerable number of secular and instrumental pieces to the repertoire, and this disc includes a variety of works in all of these genres. In Byrd's England, musical accomplishment in the form of singing or playing an instrument was an accepted and highly regarded social skill. Naturally, composers filled the need for music to be performed in the homes of amateur musicians, and much of it took the form of songs and instrumental pieces for keyboard or groups of viols. Here, by means of the talents of I Fagiolini--a refreshingly spirited singing ensemble--Concordia consort of viols, and acclaimed harpsichordist Sophie Yateswe enjoy both Byrd's lighter side and a few of his more substantial religious works, arranged in an attractive and enlightening program. --David Vernier
A well-selected collection of Byrd compositions
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I Fagiolini put together an honest rendition of Byrd choral works. With a many existing recordings of Byrd choral works done with multiple voices per part, it is easy to forget that a number of such works were written for performance at a house or manor, by a very few musicians and in secret at forbidden Catholic ceremonies. I had previously only heard my favorite sacred song, Quomodo cantabimus, performed by The Sixteen. It was a delight to hear I Fagiolini with far fewer voices per part -- in this way they bring out so many of the little details that evince Byrd's true mastery. Yates' harpsichord performances are likewise honest, not overly ornamented (as it is easy enough to do with Byrd) and overall well-played. An interesting twist is I Fagiolini's pronunciation of the Latin texts, utilizing a far more English and less Italianate accent. It is quite strange to ears that are used to the latter, but an accompanying explanation justifies the accent as a choice to perform the choral works as accurately as possible."
Why aren't more ensembles doing this?
L. Stanley | Minnesota, USA | 11/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The theme of this CD focuses on the recusant nature of Byrd's Latin works - Catholicism being illegal at the time, his music would not have been performed by cathedral choirs as we often hear it today. So it certainly makes sense to perform them one on a part, and who knows, even with female voices on some of the parts. I Fagiolini is as good as any other early music group performing this repertoire, and the quality of the performance is excellent.
The thing that makes this CD stand out is the use of historical Anglo-Latin pronunciation (vih-jih-LAY-tee as opposed to vih-jih-LAH-tay.) It is like a breath of fresh air to hear this as opposed to the 19th-century ecclesiastical/Italianate Latin that most groups use. I don't understand why so many groups are resistant or even hostile to the notion of historical pronunciation. Far from being pedantic and irrelevant, historical pronunciation is well-documented, not that hard (once you lose the baggage of your college Latin diction classes) and it does have an affect on sound of the music. In this recording, I Fagiolini provides a great example of how this can be done well and why it should be done more.
If you're interested in learning more about historical pronunciation, check out the books Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European Languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, English Choral Practice, 1400-1650, and if you're lucky to find a copy, Singing in Latin (Harold Copeman.)"