Richard Egarr’s impressive career, both as a solo keyboardist and conductor (notably with the Academy of Ancient Music), has cemented his reputation as one of the UK’s most compelling musicians. In his debut solo recording for Linn, Egarr charts the extraordinary breadth of invention at play in works by William Byrd. One of English music’s most influential figures, Byrd’s innovative style is evident throughout this well-chosen program of preludes, grounds and fantasies. The Fantasia in A minor, MB13 demonstrates the unlimited scope of Byrd’s imagination; intricate rhythms, surprising modulations and changing textures precede a finale requiring a previously unequalled level of dexterous virtuosity. Egarr similarly relishes the technical demands of Byrd’s descriptive masterpiece, The bells. This incredible composition begins with a single toll before developing into an elaborate and thrillingly complex showpiece of pealing bells. Egarr’s elegant phrasing, infectious enthusiasm and rich embellishments result in insightful performances.

Gramophone's Choice award

"...a vivid portrait of perhaps the most original and influential keyboard composer before Johann Sebastian Bach."
All Music
"Album of the Week: His playing and the music is infectious and he loses none of that in this recording. He enjoys, even relishes the rich embellishments that are abound in Byrd’s music."
BBC Radio Scotland 'Classics Unwrapped', 8 July 2018
"These are given performances whose lyricism belies the stark titles...The conclusion of BK 9 is quite exquisite in Egarr’s hands."
Early Music Review, 10 July 2018
"Choice: An outstanding celebration of Byrd as one of the first keyboard greats from a harpsichord player who holds the greatest love and respect for the composer’s music in all its forms."
Gramophone, August 2018
"Richard Egarr explores with affection and intelligence the rich world of Byrd's keyboard music, on a modern copy of a Ruckers harpsichord. Bells is a real gem."
BBC Music Magazine, August 2018
"Richard Egarr’s new release of Byrde’s keyboard music is especially welcome."
MusicWeb International, 7 August 2018
"This performance should challenge anyone’s preconceptions about the limits of a harpsichord’s evocative powers. It just takes a player with this level of imagination."
American Record Guide, 20 August 2018
"To sum up, this is as fine a single CD selection of Byrd’s keyboard music as you will find anywhere...inventive, spicy and interesting."
MusicWeb International, 28 August 2018
"It requires a first-rate technician, a scholar of style and musical analysis, and a showman capable of conveying the composer’s mercurially shifting expressive content. All this Egarr possesses in spades..."
Fanfare, 8 October 2018
"Critics' Choice Recordings of the Year 2018: The bells is a fine example of the care and clarity of Richard Egarr’s presentation. Here only he adds a 20-second opening not by Byrd to present a single bell toll and ground bass of two bell tolls over which ultimately shower a carillon of semiquavers. It’s patient, systematic yet glowing and in turn jolly, raunchy, excited, exultant and calmly fulfilled."
MusicWeb International, 6 December 2018
"It’s breathtakingly inventive music, and played accordingly."
The Sunday Times, 10 June 2018
"...An impressive, engaging and likeable disc."
The Consort