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Byrd: The Three Masses; Ave Verum Corpus / Choir of Westminster, Martin Baker

Album Summary

>Byrd, William : Mass for 5 Voices (SATTB)
>Byrd, William : Mass for 4 Voices
>Byrd, William : Mass for 3 Voices
>Byrd, William : Ave verum corpus
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This new recording from Martin Baker and the Westminster Cathedral Choir features the three masses of William Byrd, paired with the Latin hymn Ave verum corpus. The album celebrates Byrd's Catholic liturgical music in two ways. Most obviously, it addresses great and timeless works. But at the same time it reminds us that the revival of Byrd's music in the late nineteenth century was pioneered by Roman Catholic church choirs. The recording celebrates a revival of Catholic choral traditions no less than it celebrates the works themselves.

The Observer, 17th August 2014
Westminster Cathedral Choir may sing them with more splendour and finesse than Byrd himself would have expected, yet the results are uplifting and moving. It's no slight to these musicians to say the disc is worth buying for the Byrd scholar John Milsom's incomparable notes: a masterly encapsulation of Tudor church music history in a few dense pages.

Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2014
The Choir of Westminster Cathedral's approach is placid but not overly reverential: the longer-texted movements are formally clear and energetic where required...For the three-voice Mass the top voice is taken by a well-blended combination of boy altos and countertenors, making this the most distinctive interpretation of the three.

BBC Music Magazine, December 2014
Baker here boldly claims Byrd's three Masses for the Westminster Cathedral Choir...Despite the choir's muscle and numbers this disc's mood is intimate...Some Byrd devotees may object to Baker's preference for slow tempos, and his use of rallentandos to close movements. But the power of this performance is undeniable.

Choir & Organ, May 2015
Martin Baker and his multitudinous singers...bring Byrd's freeform melodic lines deftly into relief within a lush polyphonic texture, with emotional immediacy and a refreshing lack of fussiness.

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
This is glorious, soaring, life-enhancing music; and everyone who likes choral music should know it. Hyperion offers lovely sound and useful notes that I wish were longer.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Westminster Cathedral, London (2013-07-11_2013-07-12&2013-).



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Works Details

>Byrd, William : Mass for 5 Voices (SATTB)
  • Conductor: Martin Baker
  • Ensemble: Westminster Cathedral Choir
  • Notes: Westminster Cathedral, London (2013-07-11_2013-07-12&2013-)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1590

>Byrd, William : Mass for 4 Voices
  • Conductor: Martin Baker
  • Notes: Westminster Cathedral, London (2013-07-11_2013-07-12&2013-)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1592-1593

>Byrd, William : Mass for 3 Voices
  • Conductor: Martin Baker
  • Notes: Westminster Cathedral, London (2013-07-11_2013-07-12&2013-)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1590

>Byrd, William : Ave verum corpus :: "O Lord, God of Israel"), motet for 4 voices (SATB)
  • Conductor: Martin Baker
  • Notes: Westminster Cathedral, London (2013-07-11_2013-07-12&2013-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: 1605