Search - William [Composer] Byrd, John Dowland, Antony Holborne :: Byrdland

Byrdland
William [Composer] Byrd, John Dowland, Antony Holborne
Byrdland
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Folk, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1

"The best countertenor now on the stage." -- René Jacobs, interview in Gramophone "The semi-popular notion of countertenors is that they are somewhat floaty and thin-toned, more curious than vocally substantial. Zazzo put ...  more »

      
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"The best countertenor now on the stage." -- René Jacobs, interview in Gramophone "The semi-popular notion of countertenors is that they are somewhat floaty and thin-toned, more curious than vocally substantial. Zazzo put the lie to that conception in about three seconds." -- Louisville Courier-Journal "[Zazzo's] bright, eloquent, virile, and properly operatic countertenor now seems set to eclipse the rest of his generation." -- The Independent "Lawrence Zazzo ... shows himself a countertenor of gorgeous tone, superb control throughout the range, excellent musicianship, and handsome bearing." -- New York Times A tantalizing fusion of ancient and modern, Byrdland explores the world of the Renaissance song accompanied by a modern-day saxophone quartet. All the songs on the disc were written by the great composers working in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. World-famous countertenor Lawrence Zazzo was inspired to record these songs with saxophones after performing at a friend's wedding in San Francisco where the only accompaniment available was a saxophone quartet. He was intrigued by the unusual and exotic sound that resulted. Zazzo was born in Philadelphia and studied English at Yale University, Music at King's College, Cambridge, and Voice at the Royal College of Music in London, where he made his operatic debut as Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Zazzo is a fan of the legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker, hence the title Byrdland, which also conflates the names of Byrd and Dowland, two of the composers featured on the CD. Zazzo is much sought-after by opera houses throughout the world, including the Opera de la Bastille (Paris), Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and Metropolitan Opera, where he has performed the lead role in Handel's Julius Caesar.
 

CD Reviews

A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 12/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A HAPPY MEETING OF THE RENAISSANCE AND JAZZ TRADITION!
Lawrence Zazzo, recently described by Rene Jacobs as 'the best countertenor NOW on the stage', is one of the foremost countertenors of this generation, much sought after by opera houses throughout the world. 'Byrdland' is his debut recital disc.

This is definitely NOT a crossover gimick, but a genuinely illuminating meeting of Jazz and Renaissance tradition. And the expressive variety and rhytmic subtlety of Zazzo's singing is further proof of the growth of a considerable artist.

Zazzo has a pure resonant voice well suited to his repertoire. The accompaniments by the saxophone quartet are surprisingly effective, often resembling a consort of viols with their smooth sound and depth of tone quality.

Of the 24 tracks, Zazzo is most impressive in Byrd's exquisite 'Lullaby' and Dowland's 'Flow My Tears'. In fact, I must say that I never thought that I , personally, would ever want to hear anyone but Michael Chance sing those two selections, but Zazzo is just as skilled (not better than MC). The Quartet comes into its own in items such as 'Dance of the Haymakers' (Purcell) and 'Fantasia in 4 parts' (Gibbons).

Zazzo writes that he finds a common ground between the melancholy nihilism of these songs and the "bittersweet, lonely sound" of legendary saxophonist, Charlie Parker; and the title 'Byrdland' is a pun on the famous New York Jazz Club.

If someone had told me (strict traditionalist that I am) that I would be buying 17th century odes accompanied by four saxophones, I would have howled with laughter!! But this is a tremendously exciting recording, and I would have been remiss if I had not purchased it. IT IS INDEED A RARE EXAMPLE OF SUCCESSFULLY REINVENTING 'EARLY' MUSIC."