WILLIAM BYRD: LAUDIBUS IN SANCTIS (BYRD EDITION 10)
(The Daily Telegraph - November 2006)
This programme of motets drawn from Byrd’s 1591 Cantiones Sacrae and 1605 Gradualia is the 10th volume on The Cardinall’s Musick’s Byrd Edition. Much of it, such as the Propers for the Eastertide Lady Mass, was presumably intended for illicit recusant services, and Andrew Carwood’s pure-toned and clear-textured one-to-a-part performances are remarkably successful in recreating something of the atmosphere that must have pervaded such occasions.
The somewhat restrained Easter Alleluias are a pointed reminder that for persecuted congregations, full-throated Paschal rejoicing would have been inappropriate, as well as potentially dangerous, while pieces such as the beautifully flowing three-part Regina caeli or the Compline motet In manus tuas have a delicate intimacy that makes them as suitable for domestic devotional context as for a liturgical one.