Thursday, January 5, 2017

Byrd, William. (1543-1623) Masses for 4 & 3 voices.

From my collection.
Bought in September 2016.
First listen: 8-9-2016.
Second listen: 5-1-2017.
Label: ERATO.
CD 5 from 6.
Recording dates:  October 1983.
Recording venue: St. James Church, Clerkenwell, England.
Recording engineer: Neville Boyling.
Running time: 46:39.
Classical relevance: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
The Hilliard Ensemble.

These are somewhat older recordings, 1983,  and it's quite a revelation to hear how these voices developed over the years. This is very careful singing, they are well aware of the sometimes brittle balance in the music written by Byrd, and accordingly they shape their dynamics, and are more than normally alert of all the details. Precisely because they are so careful in their approach, all the details can be heard to full advantage. In that time, ( the eighties) one hardly encountered a choir that had such mastery at their fingertips, but then, they are some of the best singers England has to this day! Byrd pur sang, that is what you get, masterful performances of some of Byrd's best works. The sonics are very good too. Not a box to leave unattended, and certainly not unbought. Get it, before it will disappear in nothingness, for it is not likely that it will be re-released. 




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