The Odyssean Ensemble’s impressive debut recording features the Great Service of William Byrd, a rather neglected work of genius interspersed with some contemporaneous anthems. Uniquely the Odyssean Ensemble performs the piece in a new performing edition created by Byrd expert Andrew Johnstone, who also contributes fascinating booklet notes. Accompanied by a reconstructed Goetze & Gwynn Tudor organ (the St Teilo organ, expertly played by Christian Wilson), director Colm Carey leads listeners into Byrd’s rich and colourful sound world.
The music in the Great Service is of unparalleled proportions and inexhaustible variety; Byrd vividly represents the text at every opportunity stimulating the listener’s imagination. The Great Service encapsulates the canticles that were sung during the services of Matins and Evensong, which made up an important part of Cranmer’s newly created Book of Common Prayer of 1549.
This recording continues the Odyssean Ensemble’s exploration of English music of the 16th century, perhaps one of the golden eras of musical composition.
The Odyssean Ensemble is made up of some of the UK’s best consort singers and musicians; known for its vibrant and characterful interpretations, the ensemble has given concerts to critical acclaim. Individually the singers perform around the globe as soloists and with many of the leading groups in the UK such as The Tallis Scholars, the Monteverdi Choir, Tenebrae and The Sixteen.
Already well known for his career as a concert organist, Colm Carey has more recently been focussing on choral conducting. His imaginative and stimulating programming led to the formation of the Odyssean Ensemble. Master of Music of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London, Carey directs the choir in the two historic Chapels Royal and in concert.
Organist Christian Wilson is Assistant Master of Music at the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London and combines trailblazing virtuosity with serious scholarship.
“The result vividly conjured up the period, while profiling the Odyssean’s attention to detail. Directed by its founder Colm Carey, the ensemble brought an understated lyricism to the most flamboyant works.” – Financial Times
“Their harmonies were crystal clear, the pronunciation likewise – and the melodies were carefully woven into a beautiful tapestry.” – Arcana FM