EX CATHEDRA | "breathless lyricism, and one of those rare 'time-stood-still' moments"

“In this celebration of the 400th anniversary of seminal English composer, William ByrdEx Cathedra continue their tradition of presenting the familiar from a fresh and imaginative new perspective, but always with a strong academic justification for any unexpected choices.

“In a concert dominated by four major works by Byrd – the three Masses and The Great Service – many choirs might have just sung each of them through.  Here, movements from the four pieces were mixed and matched, along with anthems and consort songs to give, in the first half, an approximation of how a Catholic Mass at the time might have been structured and, in the second, a representation of the form of an Anglican Evensong.

“This organisation of the music resulted in a programme delightfully full of contrast and variety in terms of musical forms and the vocal and instrumental forces at play. It set delicate readings of movements from the intimate, contrapuntal mass settings side by side with more monolithic multipart anthems to create a sense of relief and structure…

“In contrast,  an atmospheric, purely vocal performance of Ave verum delivered breathless lyricism, and one of those rare ‘time-stood-still’ moments…

“Dedicated and interested audience members had the chance to get up close and personal with some of the repertoire – and had a rare chance to actually sing the 40-part motet – in a choral workshop the previous day.  A surprisingly relaxed experience considering the musical challenges involved, this provided a unique insight into the workings of this amazing music.”

Read the full review of our Byrd’s Great concert and Singing Byrd workshop at www.reviewsgate.com