The William Byrd Edition: Volume XIII–Infelix ego

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Program: #10-45, Air Date: 11/01/10

Over the years we have tracked the progress of The Cardinall's Musick as they have presented the complete works of William Byrd; this week, the final installment, including the Propers for the Feast of All Saints.

NOTE: The Cardinall’s Musick’s award-winning Byrd series reaches its final volume, which includes some of the composer’s most sublime and adventurous music, drawn in the main from the 1591 Cantiones Sacrae collection. Throughout this series it has become evident that a comprehensive survey such as this shows the genius of the composer in a uniquely effective way: by demonstrating the extraordinary variety and unsurpassable quality of his musical and liturgical achievements. Andrew Carwood defines Byrd as the greatest composer of the age in his booklet note – as he writes: ‘If there is an English musician who comes close to Shakespeare in his consummate artistry, his control over so many genres and his ability to speak with emotional directness it must be William Byrd.’ We have heard each of the other 12 discs on the program; this edition number Hyperion CD CDA67779.

1. Venite, exsultemus Domino ("O come, let us praise the Lord")

2. Domine, non sum dignus ("Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof")

3. Visita quaesumus, Domine ("Visit, we beseech you, O Lord")

4. Domine, salva nos ("Save us, Lord, we perish")

5. Haec dies ("This is the day which the Lord has made")

6. Cunctis diebus ("For as long as I am in strife, I will wait for my release to come")

Propers for the Feast of All Saints

7. Gaudeamus omnes?…?Sanctorum omnium ("Let us all rejoice in the Lord")

8. Timete Dominum – Venite ad me ("Fear the Lord, all you Saints of his")

9. Justorum animae ("The souls of the just are in the hand of the Lord")

10. Beati mundo corde ("Blessed are the clean of heart") 

11. Deo gratias ("Thanks be to God")

12. Afflicti pro peccatis nostris (Afflicted on account of our sins")

13. Cantate Domino ("Sing to the Lord a new song")

14. Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes (Praise the Lord, all ye nations") 

15. Infelix ego (Unhappy am I, deprived of all succour")

THE CARDINALL’S MUSICK WIN RECORDING OF THE YEAR AT 2010 GRAMOPHONE AWARDS

Infelix ego, the thirteenth and last volume in the group’s series covering the entire Latin sacred music of William Byrd was showered with praise at the awards ceremony, held at the Dorchester Hotel in London on 1 October.

This most coveted award took the room by surprise as The Cardinall’s Musick beat off competition from the world’s most celebrated conductors, soloists and opera companies to scoop the top title. This is only the second time in the 34-year history of the Gramophone Awards that an Early Music release has taken the most prestigious prize of the day.

This was the fourth time the group had won the Early Music Award at the ceremony, an award selected annually by critics for The Gramophone Magazine and various members of the industry, including retailers, broadcasters, arts administrators, and musicians. The Recording of the Year, however, was selected by a panel of critics from a shortlist of the sixteen category winners, which meant the Cardinall’s Musick beat the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Opera, and the HallÉ to the top prize!

It seems clear that the Recording of the Year award is keen to acknowledge the achievement of the entire series not just this final volume. Gramophone have been fulsome in their praise – ‘one of the most important recording projects of the last couple of decades … just as exciting as when Harnoncourt and Leonhardt finished their Bach Cantatas’. ‘A musical experience of vivid imagination, awe-inspiring concentration and, finally, resolution in a series that has become a glory of the early music catalogue’.

The award points to twenty years of music making by a loyal group of singing friends who by this thirteenth volume were able to approach the music with a ‘sense of soaked commitment and lived-in purpose’. It also marks the musicality, inspiration and imagination of Andrew Carwood, as well as the fine production standards of Martin Haskell, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood and Hyperion Records. Finally, it recognises William Byrd as ‘one of the greatest composers of all time, not just of England but of anywhere else’. The award and these recordings provide a fitting tribute to this most intellectually and emotionally satisfying composer.

Composer Info

William Byrd

CD Info

CDA67779