Robert Fayrfax is a rather uncommon name to most musicians. In fact, most probably haven't heard the name at all. This CD would likely be a good chance for most people to become familiar with this English composer.
The music, of course, is Renaissance polyphony- the kind with interwoven melodic lines and voices entering and exiting in an ever changing spiral of sound. It does not have all of the dissonances of a Gesualdo or Victoria, and it is overall consonant. Chorale- like passages are interspersed with those of a motet-like character.
Fayrfax being a rare composer, not all of his music has surfaced until quite recently. This is proven by a newly discovered motet that is included in the third CD. An added bonus is the sheet music to this motet, printed in the booklet and edited by musicologist David Skinner who also wrote informative notes on Fayrfax and his music.
The Cardinall's Musick headed by Andrew Carwood are more than apt performers of this music. The only complaint I have is that the text is hard to understand. Whether this is because of the pronunciation of it or because of the articulation of the music itself, I cannot say. All of the altos are male- a nice feature, exceptiong the fact that they can be rather hard to hear at times. Maybe they could have come into the front a little more often. The three sopranos(women) are very good and are not too operatic for their roles. Although not up to the level of The Tallis Scholars, say, The Cardinall's Musick is definitely a too neglected ensemble.
Overall, I reccommend the CD set to anyone who likes Renaissance polyphony or is interested in learning about a rare composer.