COMPOSERS: Byrd,Philippe de Monte
LABELS: Chandos Chaconne
WORKS: Deus, venerunt gentes; Why do I use my paper, inke and penne?; Walsingham; Quomodo cantabimus, . Super flumina Babylonis
PERFORMER: Sophie Yates (harpsichord) Concordia, I Fagiolini
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 0609
It would be salutary, once in a while, to consider the many accomplishments that go to make a CD. This disc, using the combined talents of I Fagiolini and Concordia, with harpsichordist Sophie Yates, is a scholarly achievement that even includes a brief essay on 16th-century Latin and English pronunciation, and John Milsom’s invaluable guide to Byrd the recusant composer.
Byrd’s music, he explains, was as much for performers as for listeners, a fact that makes his booklet notes essential reading, and then demands an extra sense from those who listen. Collected together, however, these moving pieces for an exiled people –the view the Elizabethan Roman Catholics took of themselves – make sense of Byrd in a way that collections by genre often fail to do. Thus, works for the martyr Edmund Campion, and a pavan for Byrd’s protector William Petre, are striking partners to songs in praise of Mary I and Mary Queen of Scots. Solo-voice accounts of ‘choral’ works give added period flavour, taking the music from church repertoire into the domestic setting where it belongs. Nicholas Williams