Shards Announce New Album ‘Byrd Song’

Based on the work of Renaissance composer William Byrd...

London-based choral collective Shards have laid out plans for new album ‘Byrd Song’.

The new album will be released on April 19th through Erased Tapes, a label that has done so much to expand the lexicon of modern classical composition. Featuring eight works, ‘Byrd Song’ is tethered to the legacy of English Renaissance composer William Byrd.

De facto leader Kieran Blunt says: “I’ve been singing Byrd’s music since I was at school, and sang a lot while studying and singing in my college chapel choir, which I did daily for three years. His music has endured for centuries because of its beauty, complexity and intense emotion“.

The composer maintained his Catholic faith in secret while living in a Protestant England, meaning that much of his work was illegal at the time, and performed in secret. Kieran adds: “There’s a real sense of every note and word of text having extreme significance…”

New track ‘Agnus Dei’ is a case in point – quietly intense, it was recorded in one take, giving it a raw, urgent feel. Shards bring their voices together as one, re-contextualising the piece in the process.

Kieran explains…

“’Agnus Dei’ is a meditation on a tiny fragment – the opening five notes of the Agnus Dei from Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices – which builds into a song that is emotionally raw and impulsive. It’s the first time I’ve recorded a song in one take, singing and playing the Prophet synth at the same time; as a result the rhythm is quite volatile and the processed vocal part florid and improvisatory…”

Tune in now.

1. Facta est deserta
2. Domine Deus
3. Kyrie
4. Sanctus
5. Agnus Dei
6. Sacerdotes (Lost Cadence)
7. Ave Verum
8. Amen, amen, amen…

Photo Credit: Alex Kozobolis

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