Byrd, Taverner: Masses and Motets

Audio Samples

>Byrd, William : Mass for 3 Voices
>Byrd, William : Mass for 4 Voices
>Byrd, William : Mass for 5 Voices (SATTB)
>Byrd, William : The Great Service
>     Magnificat
>     Nunc dimittis
>Byrd, William : Ave verum corpus
>     "O Lord, God of Israel"), motet for 4 voices (SATB)
>Taverner, John [Composer] : Kyrie "Leroy", for 4 voices
>Taverner, John [Composer] : Mass "The Western Wind", for 4 voices
>Taverner, John [Composer] : Dum transisset sabbatum (i), motet for 5 (another version exists for 4) voices
>Taverner, John [Composer] : Christe Jesu, pastor bone, antiphon for 5 voices (lacks tenor part)
>Taverner, John [Composer] : Mater Christi, antiphon for 5 voices

Album Summary

>Byrd, William : Mass for 3 Voices
>Byrd, William : Mass for 4 Voices
>Byrd, William : Mass for 5 Voices (SATTB)
>Byrd, William : The Great Service
>Byrd, William : Ave verum corpus
>Taverner, John [Composer] : Kyrie "Leroy", for 4 voices
>Taverner, John [Composer] : Mass "The Western Wind", for 4 voices
>Taverner, John [Composer] : Dum transisset sabbatum (i), motet for 5 (another version exists for 4) voices
>Taverner, John [Composer] : Christe Jesu, pastor bone, antiphon for 5 voices (lacks tenor part)
>Taverner, John [Composer] : Mater Christi, antiphon for 5 voices
Conductor Ensemble
  • >
Composers

Notes & Reviews:

American Record Guide - William J Gatens
These are remarkable performances that are well worth hearing if only as examples of a choral sound that is different from what we most often hear today. ... highly refined, even understated expressiveness with careful attention to blend and intonation.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

Infodad.com
There is a different sort of delving into the past in three new Newton Classics releases. This CD company is re-releasing recordings, most of them originally made in analog form, from the middle and latter part of the 20th century. And some of them are very special indeed. Leopold Stokowski's broadly Romantic conducting style was not to everyone's taste during his lifetime and will not be so today, but it has to be said that two new recordings made when Stokowski was 93 years old (two years before his death) are fascinating and in many ways quite remarkable. Stokowski conducted the premiFre of Rachmaninoff's Third Symphony in 1936 but then never again led it in public - so his return to the work in 1975 was quite an event. And he makes a strong case for this symphony, emphasizing its very broadly melodic lines and lush, even cloying orchestration. The pacing is deliberate, but not slow, and the National Philharmonic plays willingly and with feeling, if not perhaps with the burnished quality of brass that shows Rachmaninoff at his best. The composer's orchestration of the well-known Vocalise completes the CD, with Stokowski making the work as expansive and emotional as anyone could wish.

With the Royal Philharmonic, Stokowski in the same year made his first-ever recording of Dvorßk's Serenade for Strings, giving the work a lush and expansive performance that feels rather old-fashioned and a touch heavy-handed, but is certainly quite beautiful in its own way. Vaughan Williams, whose work Stokowski advocated for many decades, is here represented in a beautifully modulated and highly emotive version of Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis that shows Stokowski's conducting style at its most effective. On the other hand, Stokowski's overblown orchestration of Dido's Lament from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas shows why musical purists have long been uncomfortable with Stokowski's handling of early music. Whatever else this version may be, and it is certainly lush and broad, it is not Purcell except in the most general sense. It is, however, very well played, and indicative, for those interested in such things, of the way music of pre-Classical times was brought to the concert hall at a time when such works were rarely heard and Stokowski was seeking ways to make them sonically appealing to audiences of the day.

Moving even further back in time, and in a much more authentic way (although not fully in accordance with historical performance practices, which had yet to become the norm), the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, offers some beautifully sung versions of masses and motets by William Byrd (1540 - 1623) and John Taverner (c. 1490 - 1545). The Taverner works were recorded in 1961; the Byrd, in 1959 and 1963. The sound of these acappella pieces is actually quite fine - the recordings were all made in the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge - and the singing is warm, mellifluous and beautifully controlled. The sound is more massive than would be heard in more-authentic performances today, and there is more overt emotionalism expressed in the singing, but the purity of tone of the performers is winning, and their commitment to expressing the underlying sentiments of the texts comes through with clarity and feeling. The music of Byrd and Taverner is not often heard even today, but it is of considerable musical - not merely historical - interest, and this well-priced two-CD set provides a fine opportunity to hear some very beautiful and effective performances by a choir that was, at the time of these recordings, one of the very best. What the performances lack in terms of adhering to historical principles that were unknown at the time, they make up for in sheer quality of sound and expressiveness. That makes these and the other Newton Classics CDs recordings to which listeners can look forward, even as the reissues themselves look back at performances from 30 to 50 years ago.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Chapel of King's College, Cambridge.



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Works Details

>Byrd, William : Mass for 3 Voices
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Notes: Composition written: Circa 1590.
  • Running Time: 20 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1590

>Byrd, William : Mass for 4 Voices
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Notes: Composition written: 1592-93.
  • Running Time: 25 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1592-1593

>Byrd, William : Mass for 5 Voices (SATTB)
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Running Time: 25 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1590

>Byrd, William : The Great Service :: Magnificat
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Running Time: 10 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Byrd, William : The Great Service :: Nunc dimittis
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Running Time: 6 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Byrd, William : Ave verum corpus :: "O Lord, God of Israel"), motet for 4 voices (SATB)
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Running Time: 4 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: 1605

>Taverner, John [Composer] : Kyrie "Leroy", for 4 voices
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Running Time: 3 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: circa 1520-1530

>Taverner, John [Composer] : Mass "The Western Wind", for 4 voices
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Running Time: 20 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: circa 1530-1540

>Taverner, John [Composer] : Dum transisset sabbatum (i), motet for 5 (another version exists for 4) voices
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Running Time: 7 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: circa 1530-1540

>Taverner, John [Composer] : Christe Jesu, pastor bone, antiphon for 5 voices (lacks tenor part)
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Running Time: 3 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1526

>Taverner, John [Composer] : Mater Christi, antiphon for 5 voices
  • Conductor: David Willcocks
  • Running Time: 7 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: circa 1520-1530