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William Byrd: Second Service and Consort Anthems

William Byrd: Second Service and Consort Anthems

Rogers Covey-Crump Tenor

CD: 1
Tracks: 17
Length: 1:10:54

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Harmonia Mundi
Rel. 11 Sep 2007

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William Byrd: Second Service and Consort Anthems Following on a successful and equally distinctive release offering service music and anthems of Gibbons, the Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford, and its director Bill Ives return with a similar program devoted to William Byrd. Once again the most immediately unusual feature of the sound is the presence of instrumental accompaniment by the viol consort Fretwork—this music generally has been performed a cappella. But the group is in no way treading already-covered ground. The English-language music of Byrd, a Catholic in the closet, has often been taken as rather plain and treated in kind of minimalist fashion, with its comparatively simple polyphonic writing straightforwardly presented. Ives and his youthful musicians hear a completely different Anglican Byrd, a melancholy, madrigalian whose soul is unlocked by the presence of the viols—they slow the music down slightly and emphasize the small moments of dissonance, especially in cadential figures. The program includes several instrumental In nomines for viols and one organ fantasia—ornate, intensely chromatic works in which Byrd displayed the power of his contrapuntal fancy. The striking thing is that, the way they are performed here, his Second Service and his shorter anthems come out sounding of a piece with those instrumental works. Part of the unearthly effect comes from the unique sound Ives coaxes from the choir's boy trebles—this may be a disc for those who think they don't like choirs with boys on the top part. In place of the purity other leaders strive for as a sound ideal, you will hear wiry, intense lines at the top of the texture, perfectly suited to the aims of the performance as a whole. Did Byrd really imbue his English church music with despair as profound as that hidden in his Latin works? Byrd has rarely if ever been done this way, but sample track 3, Alack, when I look back, and see what you think.

© James Manheim, All Music Guide
Portions of Content Provided by All Music Guide.
© 2008 All Media Guide, LLC. All Music Guide is a registered trademark of All Media Guide, LLC.
AMG
CD 1
1 Arise O Lord, why sleepest thou (a5) 3:22
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2 O God that guides the cheerful sun (a6) 5:43
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Magdalen College Choir (Oxford) Chorus/Choir, Rogers Covey-Crump Tenor, Bill Ives Chorus/Choir Director
3 Alack, when I look back (a5) 5:39
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4 In nomine a5 No.2 2:34
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5 Magnificat (from the Second Service, a7) 4:01
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6 Fantasia in D-, MB46 4:53
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Magdalen College Choir (Oxford) Chorus/Choir, Stefan Roberts Treble, Rogers Covey-Crump Tenor, Bill Ives Chorus/Choir Director
7 Nunc dimittis (a6) 2:13
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8 In nomine a5 No.4 2:52
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9 Blessed is he that fears the Lord 5:17
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Magdalen College Choir (Oxford) Chorus/Choir, Stefan Roberts Treble, Rogers Covey-Crump Tenor, Bill Ives Chorus/Choir Director
10 Though God that guid'st (a5) 3:49
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11 O Lord, make Thy servant Elizabeth (a6) 2:53
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12 Fantasia in A-, MB13 7:17
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13 Lord, in thy wrath reprove me not 3:39
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14 In nomine a5 No.5 2:48
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Magdalen College Choir (Oxford) Chorus/Choir, Stefan Roberts Treble, Rogers Covey-Crump Tenor, Bill Ives Chorus/Choir Director
15 Have mercy upon me, O God 4:07
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16 Why do I use my paper, ink and pen? 7:13
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Magdalen College Choir (Oxford) Chorus/Choir, Rogers Covey-Crump Tenor, Bill Ives Chorus/Choir Director, Ryan Leonard Organ
17 Prevent us, O Lord (a5) 2:34
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