Phantasm - William Byrd - American Record Guide


Beautiful sound. The six viol players offer superb intonation and elegant expression. The engineers have caught them well and captured the sometimes elusive sound of viols. The bows bite. The strings speak. The notes are there, and the overtones are spectacularly present. You will never hear a more accurate recording of what a consort of viols actually sounds like. I can say this because I've played in consorts of viols and know what they sound like.

That said, the pieces here-unlike Byrd's vocal works that sound like overheard transmissions from heaven-are pleasant but not compelling. Performed by lesser players they would sound dry. Performed by these players they sound elegant and dutiful.

I think there's more human emotion and expression in these pieces than this ensemble can offer, but it's hard to fault the execution here.

American Record Guide
01 November 2011