William Byrd (±1539-1623): O gloriosa Domina

O Gloriosa Domina is the second half of the hymn Quem terra, pontus, aethera composed by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609), Bishop of Poitiers. Both were sung during the Little Office of The Virgin which, as I wrote on May 16th, 2016 in my posting on Quem terra, pontus, aethera remained wildly popular with Catholics during Byrd’s lifetime1. It was published in the first volume of Gradualia published in 1605 and like Quem terra it’s a warm and intimate three-part setting that is  some of the most relaxed chamber music Byrd ever wrote. It is also a statement of Byrd’s unshakable faith. Enjoy :-).


William Byrd (±1539-1623): O gloriosa Domina

O gloriosa Domina,
Excelsa super sidera,
Qui te creavit provide,
Lactasti sacro ubere.

Quod Eva tristis abstulit,
Tu reddis almo germine:
Intrent ut astra flebiles,
Caeli fenestra facta es.

Tu regis alti ianua,
Et porta lucis fulgida,
Vitam datam per virginem,
Gentes redemptae plaudite.

Gloria tibi Domine,
Qui natus es de virgine,
Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
In sempiterna saecula. Amen.

Hymn at Lauds in the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary

O glorious Lady,
exalted above the stars,
him who providently created you,
you suckled at your holy breast.

What miserable Eve took away,
you gave back by your nourishing seed:
so that the weeping may enter the stars,
you have been made a window on the heavens.

You, the door to the high king,
and a shining gate of light,
for life given through a virgin,
the redeemed people rejoice.

Glory to you, Lord,
you who were born of a virgin,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
for everlasting ages. Amen.


The Cardinall’s Musick conducted by Andrew Carwood
  1. Quem terra, pontus, aethera was sung at Matins and O gloriosa Domina during  Lauds – mfi.

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