William Byrd (±1539-1623): Circumdederunt me

The tessitura of Byrd’s surprisingly continental sounding five-part (ATTBB) setting of Circumdederunt me the text of which is adapted from Psalm 17 verses 5-7  in the Vulgate moves ever upwards becoming ever more intense until we come to his pleas O Domine, libera animam meam (O Lord, free my soul) at which point the music subsides at though exhausted. It’s a relatively early work – it’s published in the 1591 Cantiones Sacrae. Enjoy :-).


William Byrd (±1539-1623): Circumdederunt me

Circumdederunt me dolores mortis,
et pericula inferni invenerunt me.
Tribulationem et dolorem inveni,
et nomen Domini invocavi:
O Domine, libera animam meam.

Psalm 17 (16): 5-7, adapted

The sorrows of death have surrounded me,
and the dangers of hell have come upon me.
I have come upon trouble and sorrow,
and I have called upon the name of the Lord:
O Lord, free my soul.


Contrapunctus conducted by Owen Rees

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