Byrd: For My Ladye Nevell
Music Magazine July 2009
ability to concentrate intense musical ideas into compact forms was second
to none amongst his generation, and this selection of pieces from My
Ladye Nevells Booke gives a taste of his subtle bur ceaseless
versatility. Virtuoso variations over ground-basses or on popular songs
contrast with courtly pavans and sprightly galliards, the dances favoured
by the Virgin Queen.
Charlston underscores Byrd's 'grave and stately' qualities in these sober,
searching performances: he plumbs the melancholic depths of the fifth
pavan and gives a visceral account of the sonorous eighth. His robust,
muscular technique makes light of Byrd 's deceptively tricky scales and
fiddly ornaments. These are resolved and rigorous interpretations, at
times a shade unyielding - for a more rhythmically pliant approach,
consider Skip Sempe's readings of some of these works on Auvidis E 861l.
plays two, subtly contrasted instruments that lend delicate variety to the
sound palette: a copy of an early Flemish virginals, its muted tones
particularly effective in Byrd's more imitate works, and a copy of a later
Flemish harpsichord, the brilliant, ringing sound of which comes into its
own in Byrd's programmatic piece 'The Battell', complete with rousing
evocations of military trumpets and pipes.
recommendable album, then, but not one that displaces Davitt Moroney's
recording of all the Ladye Nevell pieces, available on his
monumental set of Byrd's complete keyboard works: 493 minutes, six
different instruments, plus a 45,000-word booklet to boot.
Back to Recordings