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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…

The quality of music, performance, instrument and programme notes makes this a splendid release. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review



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 for my 2012 Want List. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare




BBC Music Magazine, January 2012

Glen Wilson squares up to the Fantasias…If his playing isn’t always free, it’s eagle-eyed in its attention to detail: ornaments crackle with exactitude and the counterpoint is lucidly deconstructed with didactic precision…those seeking the Fantasias without having to purchase a complete set need not hesitate: a few moments of stiffness aside, Wilson is compelling. © 2012 BBC Music Magazine



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2011

One of life’s great joys is to hear William Byrd’s Fantasias, masterpieces of their era, and here played with admirable zest and pungency by Glen Wilson. For a musician regarded as one of the leading British composers of the 16th century, we know precious little about his early years, his date of birth only guessed at by the fact that he appears to have been made the organist of Lincoln Cathedral at the age of twenty-two. He left there in 1572 to become a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal which would have involved writing music for the Protestant Queen Elizabeth when he was a Roman Catholic. As a musician and composer she thought so highly of him that he had her protective hand to guard him. On her death in 1603 he retired to the countryside to farm an estate she had given him. Where he gained his musical mastery is unknown. It might have been from Tallis, though that would hardly explain the Italian influences of his Fantasias. Those came from a period where they were being adapted from the lute, and no one before had composed more complex, absorbing, and attractive scores in that format. To hear the dexterity and clarity of Glen Wilson’s performance is to marvel at his musicianship. To sample try track 11, the Fantasia in D minor, nicely shaded and thrilling in Wilson’s approach. I know some might find his copy of a Ruckert harpsichord of the period rather too good to be true, original instruments more brittle in their quality than this fulsome reproduction. But let’s not quibble, for this is one of the best Byrd discs I have encountered. The close recording only adds to the instrument’s impact.






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4:06:10 AM, 22 August 2014
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