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‘Musica Contexta’s project to free Byrd’s Great Service from the unaccompanied tradition into which it has fallen and to restore what might have been its original colours is a bold move, delivered with conviction and a reassuring sense of authority. The effect is of seeing the carvings of
the great cathedrals not as bare stone but as originally brightly painted.’
International Record Review, June 2012
Musica Contexta’s recent cd of William Byrd’s
‘Great Service’ is the first time that this masterpiece by Shakespeare’s famous musical
contemporary has been restored to its original
colours – not only through the use of period instruments accompanying the voices, but because the choir sing in Elizabethan pronunciation. For
this the singers have been helped by the advice of
Professor David Crystal of Shakespeare’s Globe.
Musica Contexta and the English Cornett and
Sackbut Ensemble have recently performed Byrd’s
music on BBC Radio 3. In August they presented
Byrd’s Great Service to great acclaim at the prestigious Academie Bach Festival in Normandy.
Their visit to Bolton Abbey promises to be a
spectacular event in the musical calendar.