Hyperion Records

Descendit de caelis
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Descendit de caelis has a ravishing texture. Byrd proudly displays his English heritage by setting a pre-Reformation Sarum rite text involving a cantus firmus (a favourite device of John Sheppard and his contemporaries) complete with dissonances and false relations. Yet as so often with Byrd there is a nod in the direction of modern ideas, at the words ‘lux et decus’ (‘the light and glory’) he uses a hopeful, upward-rising phrase which he was to develop further in the set of Propers for the Feast of Candlemas (recorded on Volume 8 of this series), which celebrates Christ as the light of the world.

from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2009

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