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Hyperion Records

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The Martyrdom of St Peter before Emperor Nero (M Fr 71 fol.28) by Jean Fouquet (c1420-1480)
Musée Condé, Chantilly, France / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67653
Recording details: November 2007
Fitzalan Chapel, Arundel Castle, United Kingdom
Produced by Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
Engineered by Martin Haskell & Iestyn Rees
Release date: February 2009
Total duration: 6 minutes 43 seconds

'The performances are admirably directed, responsive to words, clear in their exposition of counterpoint, carefully blended in the homophonic passages. The Cardinall's Musick is an expert body of singers who know exactly what they are doing' (Gramophone)

'This performance is unparalleled in its depth of expression and intelligence. The Cardinall's Musick unerringly leads the listener to musical events that unlock Byrd's conception … crystalline sound reproduction ensures that every detail is captured. The imaginativeness of the selections for this disc attests to the scholarly expertise informing its production. In short, this performance brings us into the 'heavenly kingdom' longed for by Byrd' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The works for St Peter and St Paul … positively shimmer with exuberance … the beauties of these performances are revealed: litheness, energy and intelligence' (International Record Review)

'The Cardinall's Musick appeal like the most ardent supplicants at the altar rail. The flowing lines are rich with character and the blend is a bold mixture of individuals' (Classic FM Magazine)

'The completion of this series will be a landmark, but don’t wait to hear this beautiful disc' (Fanfare, USA)

'The Cardinall's Musick is certainly one of the world's more authoritative sources for well-researched, committed, fully engaging performances of Byrd's music, and anyone who wants to know the entire range of his work needs no further encouragement from me in making this newest release their next acquisition' (ClassicsToday.com)

'It may have been quite a long time coming but this eleventh disc from The Cardinall's Musick in their monumental exploration of William Byrd has certainly been worth the wait. The programme is built from the Cantiones Sacrae of 1591 and the Gradualia of 1607 and focuses on Byrd's recusant music. Throughout their series of recordings this method of interspersing the three books of Cantiones Sacrae with the two of Graduallia has been highly successful and what is most exciting is that it allows Andrew Carwood to be the first director to record the entire music from the Gradualia in liturgically appropriate combinations. Opening this album is the exquisite six-voice setting of Descendit de caelis which immediately confirms that these are performances that are every bit as good as the previous award-winning volume. There can be very few singers in the world just now that have such an understanding of Byrd's vocal works as The Cardinall's Musick and here they give impassioned and immediate performances that move on from the early music stereotypes that used to dominate in this field' (Musical Criticism.com)

Haec dicit Dominus
composer
5vv; Cantiones Sacrae 1591 xiii-xiv
author of text
Jeremiah 31: 15-7

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
If ever a piece was designed to speak directly to the Catholic community, it is the five-voice Haec dicit Dominus. The text speaks of the Old Testament character Rachel, whose sons have been murdered—a telling choice of subject for those who were witnessing the execution of their supporters and priests. Rachel is bereft and destitute and she refuses all comfort. But the answer from the Lord is positive and forward looking—‘et est spes’—‘and there is hope’. The Latin words are incredibly direct and simple, and so powerful and unexpected is this statement that the music almost stops. These are exactly the words that the people needed to hear and Byrd makes sure they are as clear as if an angel of the Lord had appeared and spoken.

from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2009

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