A note from Colm Carey,  founder and director of the Odyssean Ensemble.

One of the things that has always fascinated me about experiencing any sort of music is how a mass of sound can take one on a journey. This might be most obvious in the great symphonies of the late nineteenth century, for instance, but it holds true for all music. The journey can be structural, programmatic, emotional or spiritual, or indeed a combination of all these elements – we all find our own path. But it is a journey.

founded Odyssean Ensemble to explore, through innovative projects and collaborations, and programming that is imaginative and stimulating, the notion of music being a journey – an Odyssey – that challenges the listener and arouses the mind, body and senses. To hear a single piece of music can be that journey; a concert programme is a grand musical tour; and indeed, for me, to establish and be the director of Odyssean is a voyage in its own right. Life itself is an expedition and music is arguably the greatest expression of human existance.

*DÉBUT CD* William Byrd: Great Service and Anthems

*DÉBUT CD* William Byrd: Great Service and Anthems

William Byrd’s Great Service is a rather neglected work of genius. Uniquely the Odyssean Ensemble performs the piece in a new performing edition created by Byrd expert Andrew Johnstone, who also contributes fascinating booklet notes. The singing is subtly accompanied by a reconstructed Tudor organ (the stunning St Teilo organ built by Goetze and Gwynn), leading the listener into Byrd’s rich and colourful sound world. This recording intersperses the music of the Great Service with anthems and contemporaneous texts, read by the actor David Suchet, taken from now defunct liturgies that Byrd would have known.
Encapsulating the Canticles that were sung during the services of Matins and Evensong in the ’new’ Book of Common Prayer, the music of the Great Service is of unparalleled proportions and inexhaustible variety. Byrd, as with all great composers, writes with head and heart and his vivid representations of the text, at every possible opportunity, stimulates the mind, imagination and soul of the listener.

” Music begins where the possibilities of language end. “

- Sibelius