“Phantasm’s playing is impeccable...” BBC Music Magazine
This new recording is the only complete collection of William Byrd’s consort music and includes new hymn settings that are premiere recordings.
William Byrd, who studied under Thomas Tallis, was the most celebrated Elizabethan composer of Renaissance consort music, English song, masses, Latin motets and keyboard works.
Byrd’s viol music is polyphonic and full of melancholy. The performances bring out the rich, overlapping textures of the compositions creating a mesmerising sound.
‘William Byrd Complete Consort Music’ is Phantasm’s second album with Linn; the first, ‘John Ward: Consort music for five and six viols’, was a Finalist in the 2010 Gramophone Awards.
Inspired by the great twentieth-century string quartets, Phantasm enjoys taking risks in its search for renditions that renew the expressive traditions of early music.
Critics have called Phantasm’s performances and recordings 'intoxicating', 'revelatory', 'electrifying', 'interpretations pervaded by a truly burning spirit'.
Phantasm’s recordings have won two Gramophone Awards, in addition to numerous other international nominations and citations, and are recognised as the most exciting viol consort active on the world scene today.
Director Laurence Dreyfus, who is also an esteemed musicologist, has made the study of 16th and 17th century instrumental music his life’s work. He brings this vast knowledge and immense passion into Phantasm and its recordings.
Phantasm has been made ‘Ensemble in Residence’ at Magdalen College, Oxford, which will enable them to present exciting series of concerts, both in the UK and internationally, in the coming months.
“Phantasm's new recording is intoxicating...In three, four, five and six parts, the blend, balance, ensemble and tuning is faultless, the sound sweet but never cloying” The Independent on Sunday, 15th May 2011
“With perfect balance, immaculate tuning and exquisitely mathematical rhythm, phantasm reveal the genius in Byrd. While one viol takes the steady plainsong theme in the In Nomines the others move around it, at first decorously, then, unable to resist, dancingly.” Classic FM Magazine, August 2011 *****
“Laurence Dreyfus (himself something of a Renaissance man), combines rigorous intellect with sensitive musicianship...Ensemble and intonation are flawless; keen rhythms and feather-light bowing give a lightness of touch to the dances. The recorded balance is acutely judged, too, ensuring that Byrd's contrapuntal lines are always distinct.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 *****
“You’re continually surprised by the potency of Byrd’s musical imagination – the occasional quirky modulation, or the subtle use of dance rhythms which give the music such lift. Linn’s production values are as exceptional as the performances, and this release is also available as a high-quality download. Blissful.” Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, 23rd July 2011
“The playing is quite simply divine. Phantasm have long been known for their musical precision, to which they bring to this music a warm, woody, soft-edged articulation that suits it very well. The pacing of individual pieces and sections within them seems particularly sensitively judged and Byrd's textures sublimely balanced.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011
“there is...a sense of richness and interaction between the players which gives everything a warmth and uniformity of sound that is most satisfying.” International Record Review, July/August 2012