Byrd 1588 - Alamire, Fretwork & David Skinner - Inventa Records - INV1006

Byrd 1588: Psalmes, Sonets & songs of sadnes & and pietie

Regular price $21.89
Total playing time [157:16]

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Alamire
Grace Davidson (soprano)
Martha McLorinan (mezzo-soprano)
Nicholas Todd (tenor)
Fretwork
David Skinner (director)


Following Tallis and Byrd’s first publishing venture of Cantiones Sacrae of 1575, Byrd waited some 13 years to again wake the presses with his compositions. His 1588 Psalmes, Sonets, & songs of sadnes and pietie was his first solo publication, for which Elizabeth’s Lord Chancellor (and notable favourite), Sir Christopher Hatton, acted as patron.

This is the first complete offering of the collection and was recorded on the grounds of Holdenby House, once the largest Elizabethan country house in all of England. Written at the height of Byrd’s creativity, it contains a treasure trove of musical delights. More famous among the collection includes two funeral elegies for Sir Philip Sidney (Come to me grief forever and O that most rare breast), Why do I use my ink, paper and pen? which is thought to allude to the martyrdom of the Jesuit Edmund Campion in 1580, as well as lighter secular songs from joyful madrigals to pained laments. Byrd here represents practically all levels of human emotion, with works performed by a variety of ‘voyces or Instruments’ as the composer himself directs.

Album Booklet (PDF)

Tracklist

Original order in 1588 publication noted in square brackets

DISC ONE

Psalms
1. O God give ear [1]
2. Mine eyes with fervency of
sprite [2]
3. My soul oppressed with care
and grief [3]
4. O Lord how long wilt thou forget [5]
5. O Lord who in thy sacred tent [6]

Sonnets and pastorals
6. O you that hear this voice [16]
7. Ambitious love [18]
8. Although the heathen poets [21]
9. My mind to me a kingdom Is [14]
10. Farewell false love [25]
11. If women could be fair [17]
12. Who likes to love [13]
13. La Verginella [24]

Songs of sadness and piety
14. Lullaby, my sweet little baby [32]
15. All as a sea [28]
16. Prostrate, O Lord, I lie [27]

Funeral Song of Sir Phillip Sidney
17. Come to me grief forever [34]

DISC TWO

Psalms
1. Even from the depth [10]
2. Blessed is he that fears the Lord [8]
3. How shall a young man prone
to ill [4]
4. Help Lord for wasted are
those men [7]
5. Lord in thy wrath reprove me not [9]

Sonnets and pastorals
6. Though Amaryllis dance
in green [12]
7. Constant Penelope [23]
8. I joy not in no earthly bliss [11]
9. As I beheld I saw a
herdman wild [20]
10. Where fancy fond [15]
11. What pleasure have great
princes [19]
12. In fields abroad [22]
13. The match that’s made [26]

Songs of sadness and piety
14. Why do I use my paper,
ink and pen? [33]
15. Care for thy soul [31]
16. Susanna fair [29]
17. If that a sinner's sighs [30]

Funeral Song of Sir Phillip Sidney
18. O that most rare breast [35]

'The real beauty of these readings [...] is the singers’ poetic nuancing of the texts, which they articulate with glassy clarity. The members of Fretwork play with characteristic grace, weaving gossamer textures around the voices. In sum, the performances, masterminded by scholar and director David Skinner, are a delight from start to finish.'

- BBC Music Magazine (5 stars)

'The real beauty of these readings [...] is the singers’ poetic nuancing of the texts, which they articulate with glassy clarity. The members of Fretwork play with characteristic grace, weaving gossamer textures around the voices. In sum, the performances, masterminded by scholar and director David Skinner, are a delight from start to finish.'
BBC Music Magazine (5 stars)

'Variety is built in; and as one expects from these interpreters, the performances are seldom less than immaculate. The vocalists do especially well.'
Gramophone

Presto Recordings of the Year 2021, finalist

'So this present recording is a triumph. The music itself is from the top drawer. Do not be surprised if, after you will have listened to it a couple of times, you wake up of a morning and find any one of several songs running through your head.'
Early Music Review

'The recorded sound, as heard in 24/96 format, is first-rate, as is the booklet, with its very striking cover.'
MusicWeb International

Credits
© 2021 Resonus Limited
Ⓟ 2021 Resonus Limited / Alamire
Catalogue No. Inventa Records INV1006
Producers: Nigel Short & Adam Binks
Engineer & editor: Adam Binks
Executive producer: David Skinner
EAN: 5060262793060
Cover image by Julian Hindson
Release date: 2 April 2021