(International Record Review - November 2006)

Having moved from ASV to Hyperion, The Cardinall’s Musick continues its invaluable series devoted to the music of William Byrd with this, the tenth volume and the first to appear on the Hyperion label. Andrew Carwood’s splendidly written and thoroughly researched notes give a wonderful glimpse of the intrigues and complex relationships between church and state at the time and serve to bring into focus much about Byrd which has, thus far, remained obscure.

That, however, is as nothing to the clarity he and his singers bring to the music. From the opening item Quis est homo … it is obvious that these singers have a love and passion for this music which transcends mere technical expertise or artistic sensitivity. They clearly relish every interlacing line, every delectable chord and every expressive nuance. Balance is exemplary and the selection of voices for each item shows a real awareness of the vocal characteristics of each singer. Take, for example the wonderful queenly elegance of Rebecca Outram, Caroline Trevor and Andrew Carwood himself as they sing the richly ornate Regina caeli, the profoundly confident quartet of Carys Lane, Cecilia Osmond, Jeremy Budd and Robert Macdonald in the self-assured In manus tuas, Domine, or the sheer exuberance of Lane, Outram, David Gould, Thomas Hobbs and Robert Evans in the vivacious Unam petii a Domino…. The Cardinall’s Musick is surely an ‘exaltation of larks’, nowhere more so in the scintillating setting of Psalm 150 (Laudibus in sanctis) with which the disc concludes.

The Cardinall’s Musick’s Byrd series is still very much alive and kicking and turning up performances of exquisite perfection.