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Byrd: The Great Service in the Chapel Royal ()

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This is an unusual recording of William Byrd's choral music for several reasons. First, it involves the Great Service, an Anglican work (nobody's first choice with the Catholic Byrd), and an amorphous and not terribly often recorded one at that. Second, the singers of Musica Contexta perform with a hypothesized period English pronunciation that may well be authentic but takes a bit of getting used to. The Service is filled out with organ versions of Byrd motets in an attempt to give it not its original form, but at least something of the flow it would have had in performance. And most unusual of all is the intrusion of instruments, in the form of the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, into the pristine world of Renaissance. This rests, as annotator Simon Ravens admits, on largely circumstantial musicology: the three cathedrals where manuscripts of the Great Service exist had cornetts and sackbuts in their collections, and the Chapel Royal would certainly have had them at its disposal. The work has... Hide synopsis

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