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Honour of William Byrd
SACD 
Price: $21.38
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Honour of William Byrd on SACD

This disc provides an opportunity to explore the music of the proud Englishman, the devoted friend, the loyal subject, and the faithful servant that was William Byrd, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death. Through a collection of songs and instrumental works performed by the Chelys Consorts of Viols joined by tenor violist Harry Buckoke and mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston, this recording introduces this key figure of the English Renaissance music: both devoutly Catholic and a favourite of the Protestant Queen, a serious character capable of weighty contemplation but also sharp wit and humour, and the loyal friend who wrote so personally and touchingly. Beginning with Thou poet's friend, a celebration of the union of poetry and music, the ensemble's carefully chosen works are in turn gay, sad, religious and secular, culminating in one of the best and most moving consort songs ever composed, Ye sacred Muses, a tribute to Thomas Tallis, Byrd's teacher, colleague and friend. The seven instrumental pieces showcase Byrd's inventiveness with their unexpected runs, cross-rhythms, daring harmonies, lively dances and the joy of sheer virtuosity.