Playing Elizabeth's Tune: The Tallis Scholars Sing William Byrd

By Anderson, Rick | Notes, December 2004 | Go to article overview

Playing Elizabeth's Tune: The Tallis Scholars Sing William Byrd


Anderson, Rick, Notes


William Byrd. Playing Elizabeth's Tune: The Tallis Scholars Sing William Byrd. Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips. Gimell GIMDN 902, 2004.

[Column editor's note: This column does not normally include reviews of video titles, but an exception is being made in this case; the release under consideration is a hybrid video/audio product and will be of particular interest to academic sound recording collections.]

This DVD consists of three parts. The first is a filmed performance by the Tallis Scholars of a ten-piece program at Tewkesbury Abbey; the concert includes such favorite Byrd compositions as the Mass for Four Voices, Magnificat (also known as the Great Service) and the spectacular Ave verum corpus. The performance (not actually a concert) was filmed in candlelight and recorded in surround sound, resulting in a sensory experience that is sumptuous on just about every level-from its soft, dark-gold visual aspect, to the enveloping richness of the recorded sound, to the glorious, richly nuanced complexity of the compositions themselves. The problem with this section of the DVD is one common to all such video productions: being present in the abbey at a performance such as this would have been thrilling, but watching it on a television screen is substantially less so. …

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