William Byrd: Second Service & Consort Anthems
Rogers Covey-Crump : discography

Harmonia Mundi HMU 907440

Playing time: 70'54

Recorded: March and July 2006, at Magdalen College Chapel, Oxford



William Byrd: Second Service & Consort Anthems

The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford / Fretwork


 1.  Arise, O Lord (2nd part: Help us, O God) [3:18] 
 2.  O God, that guides the cheerful sun [5:40] 
 3.  Alack, when I look back [5:33] 
 4.  In nomine a5 (II) (instrumental) [2:31] 
 5.  Second Service (Magnificat) [3:58] 
 6.  Fantasia in D minor (organ solo) [4:51] 
 7.  Second Service (Nunc dimittis) [2:11] 
 8.  In nomine a5 (IV) (instrumental) [2:48] 
 9.  Blessed is he that fears the Lord [5:13] 
 10.  Thou God that guid'st [3:46] 
 11.  O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth [2:49] 
 12.  Fantasia in A minor (organ solo) [7:15] 
 13.  Lord in thy wrath [3:39] 
 14.  In nomine a5 (V) (instrumental) [2:44] 
 15.  Have mercy upon me, O God [4:02] 
 16.  Why do I use my paper, ink and pen? [7:09] 
 17.  Prevent us, O Lord [2:35] 


The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
Ryan Leonard, organ
Stefan Roberts, treble
Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor
Bill Ives, director


“This disc is a benchmark - of interpretation, scholarship and programming. Both its interpretation and its dramatic re-contextualization of Byrd make even the utterly familiar (e.g. 'O Lord make thy servant Elizabeth') startlingly different. Re-contextualization is achieved by having viols replace the organ in liturgical music, and by programming domestic with church composition. That domestic and sacred music-making merged in Byrd's writing is in fact the guiding conviction of this recording. Characteristic of his genius was a facility for combining the beguilingly intimate with the grand. The use of soloists with choir in the verse anthems, the alteration of simple (homophonic) and complex (imitative) writing in the anthems, and the underpinning of soloist with rich counterpoint in psalm settings create a sense of vertigo. Traversing the terrain of the most personal, one suddenly stands on the brink of the monumental. For this reason, using a viol consort - normally the reserve of domestic music-making - to accompany the choir makes perfect sense. Placing domestic sacred song alongside liturgical music highlights how similar was Byrd's approach to both facets of his output. But it is above all the conviction of the performance - its flawless ensemble, radiant boy trebles and sensitivity to implied rhetoric - that carries the argument. Covey-Crump's creamy colour imbues solo passages with a secular feel, as does the confidence of Roberts' delivery. Fretwork has rarely played more passionately or with greater refinement. The conceits of imagination in Byrd's keyboard fantasias prove a wellspring for Leonard's readings. Meticulousness of engineering and research inform all aspects of this disc's production. Here is a recording whose ingenuity approaches that of the composer it celebrates.”
*****/***** BBC Music, October