May 22, 2023

Limelight Recording of the Month

"On Byrd’s side of the ledger, the formal bookends of the program, “Praise our Lord all ye gentiles” and “O Lord make thy servant Elizabeth” contrast neatly with his famous “This sweet and merry month of May”and the delightfully rustic “Who made thee Hob”. “If women could be fair”, a wry warning about ladies of the night is splendidly realised with plucked viol accompaniment. “Alack, when I look back” strikes a touching, sombre mood as does the celebrated lament for Tallis, “Ye sacred muses”, affectingly sung by Patrick Dunachie.

This lament is the basis for MacMillan’s new work bearing the same name. Slightly altering Byrd’s text from “Tallis is dead, and music dies” to “Will is dead, and music dies”, MacMillan refracts Byrd’s idiom through his own unique lens, delivering a multi-layered texture that engages ear, mind and heart.

Signum’s engineering suitably captures the domestic scale of the music, and the enthralling mix of finely blended voices with the gritty sonic patina of the viols. Fate may cast this odd couple together, but I daresay Tom and Will would have been more than chuffed with this classy tribute."
Limelight Magazine, Recording of the Month