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The Odyssean Ensemble’s impressive debut recording features the Great Service of William Byrd, a rather neglected work of genius interspersed with some contemporaneous anthems. Uniquely the Odyssean Ensemble performs the piece in a new performing edition created by Byrd expert Andrew Johnstone, who also contributes fascinating booklet notes. Accompanied by a reconstructed Goetze & Gwynn Tudor organ (the St Teilo organ, expertly played by Christian Wilson), director Colm Carey leads listeners into Byrd’s rich and colourful sound world. The music in the Great Service is of unparalleled proportions and inexhaustible variety; Byrd vividly represents the text at every opportunity stimulating the listener’s imagination. The Great Service encapsulates the canticles that were sung during the services of Matins and Evensong, which made up an important part of Cranmer’s newly created Book of Common Prayer of 1549. This recording continues the Odyssean Ensemble’s exploration of English music of the 16th century, perhaps one of the golden eras of musical composition.
"Everything here is stylish and very rewarding."
"...it's gorgeous, with brilliant individual voices keeping their integrity in a complex texture. The album, in fact, offers an ideal combination of performance forces and work performed."
"The recording is an example of fastidious detail to history breathing new life into an underserved work. One hopes that a recording of Byrd’s masses will be soon to follow."
Christian B. Carey blog
"Beautifully rounded sound on this recording combines with the freshness, vivacity and energy of very fine performances, shaped with taste, understanding and lovely legato lines."
Choir & Organ
"I hope to hear more from them in the future, perhaps in less contested repertoire. The performances on the new Linn recording are worthy to stand beside those others, each having a USP – in the case of the Westminster Abbey and King’s versions the use of boys on the top line, as Byrd would have expected; on the new recording it’s a reconstruction of a Tudor organ and the application of research into the use of such an instrument. "
MusicWeb International, Spring 2019
"Director Colm Carey explores Byrd’s sensitivity to the text and his extraordinary musical language. He deals well with the unfolding textures of the music, with subtle changes of volume and timbre."
Andrew Benson-Wilson blog, 2 February 2020