Byrd - Consort Songs | Hyperion - Helios CDH55429

Byrd - Consort Songs

£8.96

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Label: Hyperion - Helios

Cat No: CDH55429

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 30th September 2013

Contents

About

Here is a fine recording to draw the listener into the richly layered world of Queen Elizabeth I. William Byrd’s ‘consort songs’ tell of courtly love; Sir Philip Sidney’s demise in battle becomes an eloquent lament; an old woman tumbling down amid a flurry of human skulls represents contemporary desires for freedom of speech; moral temptations are likened to a storm-tossed ship; and a hymn to the Muses is inspired by the death of Thomas Tallis.

The longest single piece here is Byrd’s famous Lullaby ‘My sweet little baby’, one of the most popular of his works during the composer’s lifetime, and one which has been a deserving favourite ever since.

Despite Byrd’s domestic-musician-flattering preface in which he claimed these works were designed to persuade ‘everyone to learn how to sing’, this music makes the highest vocal demands: demands far exceeded in the glorious singing of Robin Blaze.

Blessed with a most alluring countertenor—creamy in tone, naturally expressive, exquisitely controlled—Blaze is the perfect singer for Byrd’s consort songs … Blaze delivers with a refinement any great lieder singer would be hard pushed to exceed’ - The Sunday Times

Blaze is on superb form in this recording, his clear, unpretentious sound an ideal partner for Concordia … very satisfying it is too. Any chance of more of the same, Hyperion?’ - International Record Review

Blaze continues to chart new territories of vocal expression. Blending purity with confidence, he draws on his vocal strengths—effortlessly sustained legato, delicate pianissimos, crisp declamation—to starkly varied effect, depending on the context of each song … in this marriage of technical mastery and instinctive understanding, Byrd’s complex psychology stands revealed’ - BBC Music Magazine

These songs are pure heaven: melancholic and moody, sweet and sad, Blaze—supported by the excellent viol consort Concordia (with Elizabeth Kenny providing lute accompaniment)—captures their heart with deceptive ease. A lovely release’ - The Independent

Exquisite singing from Robin Blaze reveals the sophistication of Byrd’s way with words and music, backed by Concordia’s irresistibly stylish playing’ - Classic FM Magazine

These sensitive performances do full justice to a beautiful and largely little known repertoire’ - Goldberg Early Music Magazine

[from CDA67397]

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