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Byrd: Great Service / O'Donnell, Quinney, et al

Album Summary

>Byrd, William : O Lord, make Thy servant Elizabeth, anthem for 6 voices (SAATTB)
>Byrd, William : The Great Service, for 5-10 voices
>Byrd, William : Prevent us, O Lord, anthem for 5 voices (SAATB)
>Byrd, William : Fantasia (Voluntary for my Lady Neville), for keyboard in G major, MB 61
>Byrd, William : How long shall my enemies triumph, anthem for 5 voices (SAATB)
>Byrd, William : Out of the deep, anthem for 5 voices (SSATB) (doubtful)
>Byrd, William : Songs of Sundrie Natures
>Byrd, William : Sing joyfully unto God our strength
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The Choir of Westminster Abbey is one of England's finest church choirs. On the recording, the 'Great Service' is presented in its correct liturgical order and is complemented by six of Byrd's finest anthems and two organ voluntaries from 'My Lady Nevells Booke', a collection of Byrd's keyboard music put together in 1591. "The 12 men and 18 boys of Westminster, under the sensitive baton of James O'Donnell, possess a beautiful sound, with a remarkably even blend and unanimity in phrasing." - The Washington Post

'The Choir of Westminster Abbey revels in the score's complexity, animating the dialogues within its ten-part texture with clarity and conviction ... this disc shows us clearly why the Great Service ranks as Byrd's definitive Anglican music' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Byrd's Great Service was not discovered until the 1920s, and is one of his most magnificent creations, awesome in scale and hugely demanding, with its intricate and complex 10-part polyphony ... For those wanting larger forces and boys' voices in the treble parts, this is a mightily impressive option. The abbey's 'authentic' cathedral acoustic is a bonus, lending even more grandeur' (The Sunday Times)

'A very polished and confident performance. Quinney gives equally fluent renditions of the Voluntary and 'Fancie for My Lady Nevell', completing a disc that fulfils its brief with distinction' (Gramophone)

'This is one of Britain's best liturgical choirs...' (Early Music Magazine)

'This is a fine start of a new series' (Fanfare, USA)

Gramophone Magazine
The atmosphere one associates with this combination of 'artist and repertoire' is present in abundance: warmth and intimacy combined with a certain reserve. In The Great Service itself, the character of the interpretations is entirely appropriate, and the choir may be heard at its best there. The warmth of tone... is due to the admixture throughout The Great Service of a chamber organ, sensitively handled by Robert Quinney. ...a disc that fulfils its brief with distinction.

Gramophone
'A very polished and confident performance. Quinney gives equally fluent renditions of the Voluntary and 'Fancie for My Lady Nevell', completing a disc that fulfils its brief with distinction'

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This particular work needs no introduction; indeed, some fine recordings already exist of this set, which has become a particular favourite of modern choirs. The atmosphere one associates with this combination of 'artist and repertoire' is present in abundance: warmth and intimacy combined with a certain reserve. At times the latter quality is perhaps too marked, or could have been leavened with a hint of extroversion: the opening track, perhaps, OLord, make thy servant Elizabeth. On the other hand the final selection, Sing joyfully (which, like the opening track, is sung a cappella) does indeed sound joyful.

In The Great Service itself, the character of the interpretations is entirely appropriate, and the choir may be heard at its best there. Its warmth of tone is due to the admixture throughout TheGreat Service of a chamber organ, sensitively handled by Robert Quinney. In the anthem Christ rising again the two treble soloists (accompanied by the organ) alternate with the full choir, a strategy that seems unconvincing because the music doesn't always lend itself to so strongly sectional an approach. Otherwise it's very polished and confident performance. Quinney gives equally fluent renditions of the Voluntary and 'Fancie for My Ladye Nevell', completing a disc that fulfils its brief with distinction.



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Works Details

>Byrd, William : O Lord, make Thy servant Elizabeth, anthem for 6 voices (SAATTB)
  • Performer: Robert Quinney (Organ)
  • Conductor: James O'Donnell
  • Ensemble: Westminster Abbey Choir
  • Notes: Westminster Abbey (01/25/2005-01/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Byrd, William : The Great Service, for 5-10 voices
  • Performers: Julian Empitt (Cantor); Robert Quinney (Organ); Fabian Roberts (Treble); Elliot Thompson (Treble)
  • Conductor: James O'Donnell
  • Ensemble: Westminster Abbey Choir
  • Notes: Westminster Abbey (01/25/2005-01/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 42 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Byrd, William : Prevent us, O Lord, anthem for 5 voices (SAATB)
  • Performer: Robert Quinney (Organ)
  • Conductor: James O'Donnell
  • Ensemble: Westminster Abbey Choir
  • Notes: Westminster Abbey (01/25/2005-01/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Byrd, William : Fantasia (Voluntary for my Lady Neville), for keyboard in G major, MB 61
  • Performer: Robert Quinney (Organ)
  • Notes: Westminster Abbey (01/25/2005-01/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Byrd, William : How long shall my enemies triumph, anthem for 5 voices (SAATB)
  • Performer: Robert Quinney (Organ)
  • Conductor: James O'Donnell
  • Ensemble: Westminster Abbey Choir
  • Notes: Westminster Abbey (01/25/2005-01/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Byrd, William : The Great Service, for 5-10 voices
  • Performers: Francis Brett (Bass); Julian Empitt (Cantor); Robert MacDonald (Bass); John New; Robert Quinney (Organ); Fabian Roberts (Treble); Elliot Thompson (Treble); Warren Trevelyan-Jones (Tenor); Simon Wall (Tenor)
  • Conductor: James O'Donnell
  • Ensemble: Westminster Abbey Choir
  • Notes: Westminster Abbey (01/25/2005-01/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 42 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Byrd, William : Out of the deep, anthem for 5 voices (SSATB) (doubtful)
  • Performer: Robert Quinney (Organ)
  • Conductor: James O'Donnell
  • Ensemble: Westminster Abbey Choir
  • Notes: Westminster Abbey (01/25/2005-01/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Byrd, William : Fantasia (Voluntary for my Lady Neville), for keyboard in G major, MB 61
  • Performer: Robert Quinney (Organ)
  • Notes: Westminster Abbey (01/25/2005-01/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Byrd, William : Songs of Sundrie Natures
  • Performers: Yeachan Park (Treble); Robert Quinney (Organ); Ben Williamson (Treble)
  • Conductor: James O'Donnell
  • Ensemble: Westminster Abbey Choir
  • Notes: Westminster Abbey (01/25/2005-01/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Byrd, William : Sing joyfully unto God our strength
  • Performer: Robert Quinney (Organ)
  • Conductor: James O'Donnell
  • Ensemble: Westminster Abbey Choir
  • Notes: Westminster Abbey (01/25/2005-01/27/2005)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: circa 1590