Byrd: Consort music

Byrd: Complete Consort Music
Linn Records 372

This is a fine program of superlative music. Byrd's consort music, like his keyboard music, is exceptional, helping to define the genre. In this case, his scope & output are much smaller, but there are still several pieces which are among the best of the era.

Phantasm has really tried to create a definitive recording. There have been some adjustments, both plus and minus, about what are considered authentic consort works by Byrd, and a chronology of the works is offered here. There is also a discussion of the development of Byrd's style.

The performance itself is superb. Phantasm has recorded many of these pieces in the past, as have many other groups, so there is a great deal of practice on which to base an interpretation. This release is something of a culmination of much learning in the realm of consort music and viol technique, and the result is very satisfying. The individual pieces are very polished, with great detail in all the parts, and wonderfully articulate sound.

This is a very easy recording to recommend.

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Todd M. McComb