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…

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…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Da mihi auxilium

I’ve written about Byrd’s six-part setting of a text from Psalm 107 before that posting featured a performance by The Cardinall’s Musick under Andrew Carwood, it’s a fine performance as is this somewhat different perfomance by I Fagiolini under Robert Hollingworth which is well worth hearing not only in its own right but also by…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Tribue Domine

When Queen Mary died the Catholic Church as the spiritual home of the English people rapidly followed her into the grave. No doubt the more strongly protestant wing of the reformers hoped that the practice of setting Latin texts to music for religious purposes would quickly become a thing of the past and had Edward…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Oculi Omnium

Byrd’s four-part (ATTB) setting  of Oculi Omnium which was prescribed as the Gradual & Alleluia for Corpus Christi & Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament was published in the 1605 Gradualia of (vol. 2, no. 2), it’s a very direct setting of the text that moves to three voices at ‘Aperis tu manum tuam …’…

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…