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William Byrd

Born: 1540. Died: 1623. Lived in: England

William Byrd (1540? - July 4, 1623) was the most celebrated of early English composers. His entire life was marked by contradictions; as a true Renaissance man, he did not fit easily into categories. He lived well into the seventeenth century without writing songs in the new Baroque fashion, but his superbly constructed keyboard works marked the beginning of the Baroque organ and harpsichord style. Although he was nominally an Anglican court composer for much of his life, he spent his last years composing for the Roman liturgy, and died in relative obscurity. In the anti-Catholic frenzy following the 1605 Gunpowder Plot, some of his music was banned in England under penalty of imprisonment; some of it-such as the Short Service-has been sung in English cathedrals uninterrupted for the past four centuries.

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Recordings and DVDs

Displaying 1-8 of 8 items.


Cambridge Singers : Byrd: Motets and Anthems : 1 CD : John Rutter : 507

Cambridge Singers : Byrd: Motets and Anthems

This recording presents a selection of fifteen of the 150 or so Latin motets and three of the dozens of English anthems that, between them, form the greater part of the life's work of William Byrd (1543-1623), the greatest English composer of his era. The chosen motets and anthems represent just some of the many facets of Byrd's sacred music, now recognized after three centuries of neglect as among the most glorious every written for choir.

Songlist: Sing Joyfully, Turn our captivity, Praise our Lord, all ye Gentiles, Emendemus in Melius, Siderum Rector, Plorans plorabit, Visita, quaesumus Domine, Attollite portas, Laudibus in Sanctis, Gaudeamus omnes, Ave Verum Corpus, Veni, Sancte Spiritus, Christus resurgens, Solve iubente Deo, O Magnum Mysterium, Non vos relinquam, O quam suavis, Justorum animae

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6999c | 1 CD | $11.98 | A Cappella


Cardinall's Musick : The Byrd Edition Vol 1 : 1 CD : Andrew Carwood : GAU 170

Cardinall's Musick : The Byrd Edition Vol 1

The Byrd Edition is a long-term project that is one of the most comprehensive ever undertaken in the early music field: some 20 CDs that will cover the complete works of William Byrd. The music will be freshly edited and sources re-examined by David Skinner. The Cardinall's Musick under Andrew Carwood has gained a formidable reputation in bringing the neglected masterworks of the English Renaissance to a wider public. These have included the festal Masses of Ludford and the complete works of Fayrfax, the excellence of which was recognized by the winning of a prestigious Gramophone Award. The whole project is divided between the Latin Church Music, the Secular Songs and Consort Music, and the English Church Music. Volume 1 is the first of the Latin Church Music discs, which provides a chronological survey of Byrd's surviving Latin motets to the Cantiones Sacrae of 1591, interspersed with a liturgical survey of the Gradualia. Thus this first CD includes the Gradualia propers for Lady Mass in Advent, the Lamentations, the exquisite penitential motet Peccavi super numerum and the great 9-part psalm setting for men's voices Domine quis habitabit.

Songlist: Domine Quis Habitabit, Omni Tempore Benedic Deum, Christe Redemptor Omnium, Sermone Blando, Miserere, Ne Perdas cum Impiis, De Lamentatione Jeremiae Prophetae, Rorate Caeli, Tollite Portas / Ave Maria, Ecce Virgo, Alma Redemptoris Mater, Christe qui lux es (a5), Christe qui lux es (a4), Sanctus, Audivi Vocem de Caelo, Vide Dominum Quoniam Tribulor, Peccavi Super Numerum

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6501c | 1 CD | $15.98


Chanticleer : Music For A Hidden Chapel : 1 CD : Joseph Jennings : HCX 3955182

Chanticleer : Music For A Hidden Chapel

William Byrd and his teacher, Thomas Tallis, were inarguably the greatest composers of Elizabethan England. The primary vehicle for royally-sanctioned musicians of the court was liturgical, and in the court of Elizabeth that would mean settings for Anglican services. However, Byrd was a committed Catholic who nonetheless wrote these masses, motets and antiphons for published volumes titled "Gradualia," volumes I and II. This insurgent act apparently went uncensured, and it is these a cappella works that Chanticleer has recorded here. Given that they would not be performed publicly in a church setting by a large choir, the arrangements are intimate. They are each in the same mode and clef, which therefore creates a mood unbroken, a continuity of feeling that is quietly moving.

Songlist: In tempore Paschali, Regina Caeli, In Assumptione Beatae Mariae, Ave Regina Caelorum, Salve Regina

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Performed by Chanticleer | 6307c | 1 CD | $9.98


Dunedin Consort : In Chains of Gold - Byrd, Tallis : 1 CD : 34008

Dunedin Consort : In Chains of Gold - Byrd, Tallis

Critically acclaimed, this is a recording of William Byrd's Mass for Five Voices, five part motets by Byrd and Thomas Tallis. All the works on this disk are gems of Late Renaissance composition and are beautifully recorded and sung by this young Scottish group who have become one of Scotland's leading performers of Early Music.

Songlist: Byrd Prelude In C, O Nada Lux, Laetentur Coeli, Salvator Mundi, Organ Hymn, Mass 5, Kyrie, Gloria, Plainsong, Credo, Sursome Corda, Sanctus, Benedictus, Pax Dominus, Agnes Dei, Organ Hymn, Gaudemus Omnes, O Scrum Convivium, Justorum Animae

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8386c | 1 CD | $15.98


King's Singers : English Renaissance : 1 CD : 09026680042-1 : 09026680042

King's Singers : English Renaissance

Thomas Tallis (1505-1585) was the most influential English composer in his day. He lived at Court from 1543 until his death. He survived the coming into dominance of Protestantism during Edward VI's reign, the restoration of Catholicism under Mary in 1553 and the tumultous tussle leading to the Elizabethan Settlement which devised a new church establishment then dominant for nearly a hundred years. Throughout these changes Tallis continued to write choral liturgical music in both the older Latin motet style and the newer English anthem style. His greatest student was William Byrd (1543-1623) who pushed the authorities with his staunch Catholicism but was such a brilliant composer that he never received more than a heavy fine. Elizabeth awarded them the exclusive rights to publish music in her realm, effectively creating a monopoly. The King's Singers bring us a sampling of the huge output from these two most influential composers, including both motets and anthems. These are performed for the joy of those who love renaissance music, with the musical perfection expected of the best.

Songlist: Haec Dies, Te Lucis Ante Terminum, Beata Viscera Mariae Virginis, Ave Verum Corpus, Vigilate, Viri Galilaei, Te Lucis Ante Terminum, Lamentations Of Jeremiah, First Set, Lamentations Of Jeremiah, Second Set, If Ye Love Me, O Lord, Make Thy Servant Elizabeth, Our Queen, Sing Joyfully, Laudibus In Sanctis

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Performed by King's Singers | 6125c | 1 CD | $16.98


Oxford Camerata : William Byrd : 1 CD : Jeremy Summerly : 8.550574

Oxford Camerata : William Byrd

The early 1580s marked an important change in the sacred music of William Byrd, just as they did in the history of Catholicism in England. Many of the Latin motets of the 1580s, collected in two volumes of Cantiones sacrae, set words about the Babylonian Exile, charged with penitential ecstasy. These are non-liturgical works - indeed the text of Infelix ego draws on the Bible only indirectly through the pen of savonarola. The words, written as that Catholic puritan demagogue awaited execution in Florence, reflect on his own personal guilt and the redemptive pity of God. They stimulate Byrd's wide technical resources, from two- and three-part writing to complex six-part polyphony to dramatic homophony, the whole reminiscent of the vast Marian antiphons of Christopher Tye or William Mundy. By contrast, the Mass settings are compact and controlled. They belong to a later period, when Byrd's response to his circumstances had changed from the impassioned to the practical; the Gradualia represent an attempt to set music for the entire Catholic liturgy, and the Masses may have been linked to the same project.

Songlist: Mass for Four Voices:, -Kyrie, -Gloria, -Credo, -Sanctus, -Agnus Dei, Infelix ego, Mass for Five Voices, -Kyrie, -Gloria, -Credo, -Sanctus, -Agnus Dei

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8753c | 1 CD | $9.95 | A Cappella


Quink Vocal Ensemble : William Byrd Choral Music : 1 CD : 1031

Quink Vocal Ensemble : William Byrd Choral Music

Acclaimed Dutch vocal ensembles sings the cappella works of William Byrd including The Mass For Four Voices.

Songlist: Mass for Four Voices, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Kyrie, Benedictus, Agnes Dei, Come to me rief for ever, Retire my soul, Come help O God, Prevent us O Lord, Cibavit eos, Ave verum corpus, Confirma hoc deus, Lustorum animae

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5986c | 1 CD | $15.95


Tallis Scholars : Byrd - Playing Elizabeth's Tune : DVD : GIMDN 902

Tallis Scholars : Byrd - Playing Elizabeth's Tune

Focusing on the life and works of William Byrd, this DVD has a playing time of over 3 hours and includes filmed performances by The Tallis Scholars, a documentary on the composer and over 50 minutes of bonus audio tracks. The filmed performances feature over 70 minutes of sacred music by Elizabeth I's favourite composer including the Mass for 4 Voices and Ave verum corpus. It is performed by candlelight in the beautiful surrounds of Tewkesbury Abbey and recorded in genuine surround sound. In a seventy-minute documentary produced for the BBC, Charles Hazlewood further explores the life and music of William Byrd and the troubled times that produced some of the most intimate and passionate sacred music ever written. Bonus audio tracks including Byrd's Mass for 5 voices and Mass for 3 voices result in the complete audio recordings of Byrd's Masses being available on this one DVD.

Songlist: Mass For 4 Voices, Ave verum corpus, Diffusa est gratia, Magnificat, Ne irascaris, Nunc dimittis, O Make Thy Servant, Elizabeth, Prevent Us, O Lord, Tristitia et Anxietas, Vigilate, Mass For 5 Voices, Mass for 3 Voices, Tribune Domine

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7875dvd | DVD | $29.98 | A Cappella

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