William Byrd, The Great Service – Musica Contexta/Simon Ravens chandos

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The Independent Culture

Ravens presents an attractive solution to the mystery of William Byrd's Great Service. Unpublished in the composer's lifetime, this double-choir setting of music for Matins, Communion and Evensong is thought to have been intended for use at the Chapel Royal.

With organist Steven Devine, Ravens creates an imagined reconstruction of its performance there. The result has an almost Iberian flavour but the sense of ceremony, decoration and wealth is powerfully conveyed.