Related Reviews
MusicWeb International
'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.'
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MusicWeb International
'Richard Egarr’s new release of Byrde’s keyboard music is especially welcome.'
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BBC Music Magazine
4 Stars
'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.'
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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.'
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Early Music Review
'These are given performances whose lyricism belies the stark titles...The conclusion of BK 9 is quite exquisite in Egarr’s hands.'
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Res Musica
'Le génie contrapuntique de Byrd est particulièrement mis en évidence dans la grande pièce sur Ut, ré, mi, fa, sol, la, où l’hexacorde ascendant sert de prétexte à une véritable gymnastique mentale en dix-sept variations.'
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BBC Radio Scotland 'Classics Unwrapped'
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.'
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5/6: '...he has an understanding of what makes the music of one of the great European renaissance composers come to life.'
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The Sunday Times
'It’s breathtakingly inventive music, and played accordingly.'
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Richard Egarr - One Byrde in Hande - All Music

22 June 2018
All Music
Blair Sanderson
4½ Stars

As one of the most versatile composers of the English Renaissance, William Byrd is celebrated for his polyphonic choral works, consort music, and keyboard pieces, and most of the latter category have come down to us in My Ladye Nevells Booke (1591), a manuscript of preludes, fantasies, and character pieces. One Byrde in Hande, Richard Egarr's 2018 Linn release, presents selections from that compilation, as well as pieces published in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, such as Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la and Ut, mi, re, and two grounds from Will Forster's Virginal Book. Byrd's elaborate counterpoint, intricate musical puzzles, and humorous allusions make this music fascinating to study, and it took hold of Egarr's imagination in his twenties and has stayed with him throughout his career. Egarr performs on a 1991 harpsichord built by Joel Katzman, after a 1638 Ruckers, and the tuning (a' = 393Hz) is noticeably lower than the modern standard pitch, thus lending a slightly darker coloration to the music. While this recording only offers about a quarter of Byrd's keyboard output, it is representative of the different styles he worked in, and provides a vivid portrait of perhaps the most original and influential keyboard composer before Johann Sebastian Bach.
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