Saturday, 26 November 2016

Byrd - My Ladye Nevell's Booke

Rating: 5/5

A wonderful set

This is a wonderful collection of Byrd's keyboard music.  Although he is better known for his polyphony, Byrd wrote a great deal of very fine music for harpsichord, virginal and other keyboard instruments of the time; this is some of the best of it, played on the harpsichord by a real master of the instrument.

The 3CD set is a wonderful, varied sequence of mature works by Byrd, Nos. 1-25 being largely pavans and galliards and Nos 26-42 fantasias and variations.  There is a wealth of wonderful stuff here, showing what a truly great, innovative and imaginative composer Byrd was.  It is played superbly by Hogwood, with real sensitivity and insight - and it goes without saying that he has the technique and virtuosity to allow every nuance of feeling and atmosphere to shine through.

The recording is lovely, giving a fabulous rich sound with none of the tinniness which sometimes afflicts harpsichord recitals.  Hogwood's own notes are full, very interesting and very readable, and it's a really good set all round.  Very warmly recommended.

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