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Byrd: The Tallis Scholars sing William Byrd Import

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, November 13, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Messe pour 5 voix - Messe pour 4 voix 22 - Messe for three voices - Ave verum corpus - Infelix ego - Vigilate - Tristitia et anxietas - Ne irascaris, Domine... / The Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips, direction

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Kyrie (Mass for five voices)
  2. Gloria
  3. Credo
  4. Sanctus & Benedictus
  5. Agnus Dei
  6. Kyrie (Mass for four voices)
  7. Gloria
  8. Credo
  9. Sanctus & Benedictus
  10. Agnus Dei
  11. Kryrie (Mass for three voices)
  12. Gloria
  13. Credo
  14. Sanctus & Benedictus
  15. Agnus Dei
  16. Ave verum corpus
  17. Infelix ego

Disc: 2

  1. Vigilate
  2. Tristitia et anxietas
  3. Ne irascaris, Domine
  4. Prevent us, O Lord
  5. Venite (The Great Service)
  6. Te Deum
  7. Benedictus
  8. Creed
  9. Magnificat
  10. Nunc dimittis
  11. O Lord, make they servant Elizabeth
  12. O God, the proud are risen
  13. Sing joyfully unto God


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 13, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: GIMELL
  • ASIN: B000WC8BNY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,842 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Here we have a two disc compilation of the sacred choral works of the English composer William Byrd (c1540-1623), as expertly sung by the Tallis Scholars. On the one side, one is exposed to the lovely Masses and motets of a composer whose Catholic faith is obviously deeply felt. While on the other, one hears the composer's highly communicative and joyous Anglican works, the texts of which the composer probably never fully connected. Although these recordings have already been separately issued by the Gimell label, it is great to have them combined here at a discounted price. In fact, if you were only going to make one purchase of Byrd's choral works, this is certainly the one to make.

The first disc is entirely dedicated to the Catholic works of Byrd, including his three Masses. Byrd was a lifelong Catholic, and it is within these solemn pieces, at least to me, Byrd seems to be at his most expressive. These are fascinating works, and can be considered among the finest Mass settings composed during the renaissance. Although the Masses were probably written in the 1590's, they look back to the music of earlier composers, such as Tallis and Gombert. The beautiful Agnus Dei of the five-part Mass is a personal favorite. But whether it is the intricate polyphony, rich textures or the long, flowing melodic lines, each of the Mass settings is great, and distinctive, in its own way. Concluding the first disc is the hauntingly lovely 'Infelix ego'. This piece, with its soaring, amazingly high, soprano line, is reminiscent of Allegri's 'Miscere', which has always been one of my favorites.

The second disc predominately consists of Byrd's Anglican works, including his longest composition, 'The Great Service'.
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There are two sixteenth century composers whose music makes my ears perk up. They are William Byrd and Giovanni Palestrina, and The Tallis Scholars stand out in the top rank of their interpreters. This two CD set is an excellent example of their treatment of Byrd's music. Russ from Richmond wrote an excellent, detailed review and I see no need to repeat what he said.

I can not put my finger on what makes the music so special to me. I tend to have it playing in the background and, when these pieces come on, they grab my attention.

Excellent value, too. Highest recommendation.
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Format: Audio CD
This is another in the outstanding series of budget reissues of the Tallis Scholars' finest recordings of the last 30 years. It contains the two CDs of Byrd's music recorded in the mid 1980s - their wonderful recordings of the three Masses and of the Great Service. In addition, there are five magnificent motets including the sublime Infelix ego. It is a wonderful collection of music from one of England's very greatest composers, and it also provides a really fascinating insight into the religious upheavals of Tudor times.

Byrd remained a Catholic throughout his life, despite the colossal pressures on Catholics following the Reformation. The first part of this includes Byrd's three settings of the Mass in Latin for Five, Four and Three Voices for Catholic worship. These are sublime, touching works, perhaps written for secret worship. The contrast between these and the Anglican settings in English is very marked, although the Anglican settings are no less musically rewarding. They conform (largely) to the injunction by Cranmer that settings should be one note to a syllable so that the text should be clearly heard, and have a sparer and more declamatory feel. Peter Phillips's commentary on this aspect of the music is, as always, exceptionally penetrating and interesting.

The performances themselves are unsurpassed, in my view, and rivalled only by The Cardinall's Musick's magnificent disc of the Masses. Intonation, clarity of line, balance and blend are impeccable and the whole is, as we have come to expect from the Tallis Scholars, simply brilliant and exceptionally beautiful.

At this price for two CDs of superb performances of some of the greatest English music ever written you simply can't go wrong, and I recommend this set wholeheartedly.
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Format: Audio CD
With Byrd having been a student of Tallis, I believe the Scholars really capture the unique English feel, whether singing the more Roman Mass parts and hymns, or the English motets. I find many of the passages - the Agnus Dei in Mass for Three Voices - to have complex and modern (timeless?) sound that rivals anything. The Scholars pitch & timing are consistently spot on, though their various slow retards and long fermatas are more appropriate to the stage than the sanctuary. But how in the world do they sustain them? Do they all have third lungs? Some may accuse them of being "too perfect," but frankly, if you don't appreciate this collection, you may want to have your pulse checked and seek professional help. It is heavenly.
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I am not a music scholar or expert in any way....I simply like beautiful music. These discs are exactly that, beautiful choral music. There are no soloists or significant change-ups in the music. It is choral music from the late1500's. It makes great background music.
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