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BYRD, W.: Fantasias for Harpsichord (Complete) (G. Wilson)

Composer(s):AnonymousBull, JohnByrd, William
Artist(s) Wilson, Glen, harpsichord
Period(s) Baroque (1600-1750)
Genre Classical Music
Category Instrumental
Catalogue 8.572433
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

The fantasia was in the process of being adapted for keyboard from lute and consort music during William Byrd’s youth, and his formidable mastery of counterpoint brought the form to a pinnacle equivalent to his matchless vocal works. These splendours combine with lively dances and virtuoso display and quotations from songs of love and death. They also may hold fascinating symbols which mark secret Catholic allegiances, a gift for Elizabeth I, and a memorial to the tragic Mary, Queen of Scots. Our cover image shows the only possible contemporary impression of Byrd, as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal at the funeral of Elizabeth I.

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Review By Johan van Veen,MusicWeb International,October 2012

Without exaggeration William Byrd can be considered one of the greatest composers of keyboard music in history. In English history he is second to none. This disc with the Fantasias from his pen is an impressive demonstration of his skills as a composer for the keyboard.

This is a most fascinating disc which sheds light on one of the genre’s of Byrd’s large keyboard oeuvre. There is no lack of recordings of his keyboard music, but a programme which is devoted to the fantasia is particularly illuminating as it shows the versatility within this genre. Glen Wilson delivers brilliant and engaging performances. How much he is involved with this music is also clear from his liner-notes…


Review By Christopher Brodersen,Fanfare,May 2012

From the beginnings of the period-instrument movement, Byrd’s keyboard music has been enormously popular with recording artists and record labels. Faced with this abundance, the serious record collector has his work cut out for him, and his task has become even harder with the appearance of Glen Wilson’s excellent recording of what are for me Byrd’s greatest keyboard compositions, the fantasias. Included on this disc are three praeludia, hardly distinguishable in form and content from the fantasias, and two works attributed to Byrd. There is also a short prelude attributed to John Bull. Wilson’s playing, as you might expect, is magisterial and well-nigh definitive. Excellent recording quality and a budget price make this disc an absolute must and a shoo-in



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