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Hyperion Records

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The Suffering of the Saints: St Paul on the Road to Damascus, from the Heures d'Etienne Chevalier (c1445) by Jean Fouquet (c1420-1480)
Musée Condé, Chantilly, France / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67779
Recording details: April 2009
Fitzalan Chapel, Arundel Castle, United Kingdom
Produced by Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
Engineered by Martin Haskell & Iestyn Rees
Release date: February 2010
Total duration: 3 minutes 4 seconds

'Hyperion has done Byrd proud … it's a mixture also of the celebratory, as though the singers were congratulating themselves on a job well done—as well they might—and the pentitential, concluding with the full ensemble in a finely judged and quite extrovert Infelix ego, surely one of Byrd's most memorable motets … the commitment of singers and label alike is a cause for gratitude, perhaps even optimism. Congratulations to all concerned' (Gramophone)

'The Cardinall's Musick pays tribute to the whole landscape of Byrd's genius with a passion that ends the project on a high. As with the earlier instalments, Andrew Carwood's direction and programming are equally inspired … the centrepiece is the searing Infelix ego; here, the recusant Byrd explores a martyr's preparation for death, taking the listener through every emotional extreme before transcending the built-up tension in a glorious coda. The musical imagination of The Cardinall's Musick does full justice to that of Byrd. Unique about this ensemble is its expressiveness, whether members sing seamlessly as one or tug at each other's lines. The group's delivery is a sensual delight' (BBC Music Magazine)

Beati mundo corde
5vv;; Gradualia 1605 I:xxxii
author of text
Communion at Mass on The Feast of All Saints; Matthew 5: 8-10

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The set of Propers for The Feast of Saints (Gradualia, 1605) with its two equal soprano parts has a luminous quality and is the most joyous and witty set that Byrd produced. The vigorous Introit (Gaudeamus omnes) gives way to a more meditative setting of the Gradual (Timete Dominum) and Alleluia (Venite ad me) where Byrd indulges his love of musical games at the words ‘Come to me, all you who labour’. The ‘labour’ is complex but the style rather light and filigree and it is hard not to have in mind the companion text ‘his yoke is easy and his burden is light’. The words which follow, ‘and I will refresh you’, feel rather like an intellectual musical work-out, complex but satisfying. The Offertory Iustorum animae is a serene reminder that those who have died lie in the peace of God. Beati mundo corde, the Communion sentence, is a setting of some words from the Beatitudes. Byrd starts with just three voices for the first phrase, before moving to four voices and then five in a completely satisfying setting of a text which must have spoken clearly to the Catholic community.

from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2010

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