It is Byrd’s genius which first attracts musicians and listeners to his music: his fine command of invention and dramatic flow, his subtle melodies and harmonic turns mixed with a sophisticated understanding of the texts that he chose to set. Quite simply he was the finest composer of his age.
For ten years now Andrew Carwood and The Cardinall’s Musick have been engaged on a project to make the definitive recordings of William Byrd’s Latin Church music. We are delighted to be able to issue this tenth disc—there will be three more to complete the series—on the Hyperion label (volumes 1 to 9 appeared on the ASV/Sanctuary imprint).
The survey has now reached the highpoint of Byrd’s creative achievement that is the 1591 Cantiones Sacrae publication from which we have seven works, culminating in the athletic extravagances of Laudibus in sanctis. From the 1605 Gradualia—the thread of Byrd’s subversive liturgical legacy which has run through the whole of this series—we have a further nine motets, including the Propers for use at Lady Mass in Eastertide.