Posts Tagged ‘ Tudor Music ’

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Deficit in dolore

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January 26, 2015

Byrd's AATTB motet Deficit in dolore (Wasted in grief) takes its text from the psalms and free text he published it in the 1589 Cantiones sacrae. Like much in that book Byrd selected and arranged the texts to describe personal suffering before expressing hope. 

mfi

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Peccantem me quotidie

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January 15, 2015

Byrd's five-part (SATTB) setting of the seventh respond at the matins for the dead is a surprisingly old-fashioned piece of writing that harkens back to Fayrfax, Cornysh, and Ludford. It's a little surprising that Byrd selected such an old-fashioned style as he along with his contemporaries was busy exploring the possibilities offered by the mean vocal range. Old-fashioned but nevertheless very beautiful and a glorious example of what Byrd could do when he put his mind to it. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Jesu salvator saeculi

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January 14, 2015

Tallis' setting of the compline hymn Jesu salvator saeculi (Jesus, saviour of the age) is an alternim setting that alternates the chant and composed music retaining the cantus firmus in the top part. Under Sarum usage it would have been sung between low Sunday and Ascension it's typical of the new style of hymnody pioneered by Tallis and his contemporaries eschewing the massive polyphonic 'wall of sound' of earlier generations in favour of an elegant simplicity and textual clarity.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Teach Me, O Lord

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January 2, 2015

It must have been an agonising experience for Byrd to see his hopes for the five-year English Catholic renaissance of 1553–58 dashed with the death of Queen Mary. A devout, and stubborn Catholic he was to live the remainder of his life under protestant monarchs. Fortunately for him, and for us, he managed the difficult and dangerous balancing act of remaining a faithful and practising Catholic while simultaneously rising to be a pillar of the Elizabethan musical establishment. Having Elizabeth as his protector undoubtedly helped! It may seem strange that such a devout Catholic produced such beautiful music for protestant services and "Teach me, O Lord" a setting of verses from Psalm 119 is very beautiful.

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Non vos relinquam (SSATB)

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October 23, 2014

Non vos relinquam is one of the motets from the 1607 Gradualia. It's a five-part setting (SSATB) whose simple and flowing style conceals some very complex counterpoint. Whenever I listen to it I marvel at how Byrd wove the alleluias into the fabric of the piece and how he manages to portray the Apostles' mixed feelings of sadness at Christ's departure coupled with their joy at the knowledge of their salvation. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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