William Byrd (±1539-1623): Memento Domine

This five-part (ATTBB) motet is to be found in the Cantiones sacrae of 1589. The text is based upon two Psalms:

Memento Domine congregationis tuæ, quam possedisti ab initio. (Remember thy congregation, which thou hast possessed from the beginning.
Psalm 73:2 )
and
Libera eos ex omnibus tribulationibus, et mitte eis auxilium. (Deliver them out of all their tribulations, and send them help. Psalm 24:22)

This is Byrd playing a bit fast and loose with the rules of Psalmic quotation in order to make an explicitly political point that God’s congegration which everyone hearing this sung would immediately recognise as being the English people need God to remember their suffering (the spiritual and material suffering being imposed by the protestant government) and send them help. It’s very blatant, very brave, and superb music – no wonder the authorities kept such  a close eye on him. Enjoy :-).

mfi

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Memento Domine

Memento Domine congregationis tuæ, quam possedisti ab initio.
Libera eos ex omnibus tribulationibus, et mitte eis auxilium.

Be mindful of thy congregation, O Lord, which thou hast possessed from the beginning.
Deliver them out of all their tribulations, and send them help.

Performers: The Cardinall’s Musick conducted by Andrew Carwood.

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