The Cardinall’s Musick continue to receive accolades for their wonderful recordings of the works of William Byrd. Having already been awarded a Penguin Guide “Rosette”, their recording of the Mass for Four Voices has been selected by BBC Radio 3’s prestigious CD review programme as its “Building a Library” choice. In Simon Heighes’ review of all the available versions, The Cardinall’s Musick beat competition from groups such as The Tallis Scholars, The Hilliard Ensemble and The Sixteen to be crowned the overall winner with the best recording.
In describing the recording he said: “Byrd’s closely argued counterpoint snaps crisply into focus… powerfully shaped singing from The Cardinall’s Musick mirroring the rhetoric of text and music… this performance finds just the right balance of dignity and emotion… the 8 singers of TCM bring a tremendous sense of conviction to the whole mass: they avoid the ethereal floatiness of the archetypal cathedral sound, as well as the impersonal over-polished polyphony of some professional choirs. Instead they offer intimacy and grandeur in equal measure… it’s an approach grounded in 16th century practice… Byrd’s secret Latin music is safe with The Cardinall’s Musick whose sensitivity to his word setting extends to the very last bar of the mass where they illuminate the final unexpected major chord like a ray of hope”
You can listen to the programme again by clicking here (“Building a Library” starts at 32:10).
Andrew Carwood can also be heard talking to Catherine Bott about William Byrd and his music in two special editions of Radio 3’s The Early Music Show – click the following to listen again: 1st programme / 2nd programme.