Classic CD

The last line of Ye Sacred Muses, the exquisite tribute to Tallis which ends this disc, insists that "Tallis is dead and music dies". Happily whilst the first part is undeniably true, Byrd's plangent setting protests otherwise for the veracity of the rider! And with a bewitching disc of Byrd's Fantasies and In Nomines already behind them, Phantasm are well placed to fight Byrd's corner. One Fantasia a4 and a couple of In Nomines (unravelled with almost sensuous commitment) fly the instrumental flag, but the bulk of the programme is given over to song - who subtexts and ciphers (which makes Shostakovitch seem like a model of transparency) are skilfully elucidated in Laurence Dreyfus' excellent notes. Jewels abound: the soulful lament on the death of Henry Prince of Wales "Fair Britain Isle", and flirtatious "Susanna fair", the substantial Lullaby, enwrapt but concealing an unexpected stridency. Ian Partridge nor Geraldine McGreevy sing unfailingly with stylish good taste.

 

Date: 

Aug 2000

Author: 

Paul Riley

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