Our June Recording of the Month is Tom + Will – Weelkes & Byrd: 400 Years by The King’s Singers, a British choral institution currently at the top of its game. While most know that William Byrd, aka Will, is celebrating his 400th anniversary this year, this delightfully conceived and entertainingly curated album pairs him with his bibulous younger contemporary Tom, aka Thomas Weelkes, who had the misfortune to die the same year (Signum Classics SIGCD731).

With sterling support from viol consort Fretwork, the music-making here is joyous and the blend to die for. “Weelkes’ mastery of the madrigal is confirmed in sprightly accounts of some of his most celebrated works,” writes Tony Way. “On Byrd’s side of the ledger, the formal bookends of the program – “Praise our Lord all ye gentiles” and “O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth” – contrast neatly with his famous “This sweet and merry month of May” and the delightfully rustic “Who made thee Hob forsake the plough?”. Fate may have cast this odd couple together, but I daresay Tom and Will would have been more than chuffed with this classy tribute.”

On the Record June 2023

Sticking with early music,...