The 10 voices of the Cardinall's Musick launch into the opening of Byrd's The Great Service – "O come, let us sing unto the Lord" – with a soaring joyfulness and clarity that sustains throughout this large-scale and elaborate work. Andrew Carwood and his group have won countless accolades for their series of Byrd's Latin sacred music. In this Anglican work, they achieve the same outstanding level of musicianship. The (female) sopranos have strength and purity at the top but an effective lightness, too, closer to the sound of boy trebles. The full ensemble tone is bold and energetic. Also includes Unto the Hills Mine Eyes I Lift (1589) and four pieces from Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets (1611).
William Byrd: The Great Service – review
The Cardinall's Musick; Andrew Carwood (director)
Fiona Maddocks is the Observer's classical music critic. She is the author of Hildegard of Bingen, Harrison Birtwistle: Wild Tracks and Music for Life. Follow her on Twitter: @FionaMaddocks