William Byrd

English composer. Born 1540. Died 4 July 1623
William Byrd
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1540
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/d1cf7a39-f268-45e8-bbc0-6cea5c0272cf
William Byrd

William Byrd Biography (BBC)

William Byrd was born in London in 1540. Two of his brothers became choristers at St Paul’s Cathedral and, around 1550, he himself may have joined the boys of the Chapel Royal. His early musical training was overseen by adult members of the chapel, among them Thomas Tallis, who taught him keyboard playing. By March 1563 he was appointed organist of Lincoln Cathedral, a post secured on favourable financial terms and supported by the grant of a rectory.

In 1568 Byrd married Juliana Birley at Lincoln. Two of their children were baptised in the fenland city in 1569 and 1572, the year he was sworn in as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal to replace Robert Parsons, who had recently drowned in the River Trent. Although Byrd left Lincoln, high-placed supporters persuaded the cathedral chapter to continue paying him a quarter of his salary in return for ‘church songs and services’. Soon after moving to London, the Byrd family was extended by two more children.

Although Byrd by now enjoyed the support and friendship of several courtiers, the Catholic Lord Paget and Edward Somerset among them, his domestic circumstances and inflationary economic conditions forced him to lobby the queen, in partnership with his old teacher Tallis, for an exclusive licence to publish and import music. Byrd’s joint venture was not a success, although later publishing enterprises proved profitable and also underlined the composer’s high status.

In the 1580s Byrd worked tirelessly to produce a succession of Latin motets, keyboard pieces and songs, later anthologised and issued in several lavish publications between 1588 and 1591. His output also included music for viol consort, for which there was a growing market, works for the Anglican liturgy, and many contrapuntal pieces and dances for keyboard.

Byrd’s adherence to the Catholic faith brought him into potential conflict with the Elizabethan state. His house and servants were watched; he and his wife were cited for recusancy, or failure to attend church regularly. In 1585 the family home at Harlington was searched and soon after Juliana Byrd was outlawed. Despite the difficulties caused by his religious convictions, Byrd continued to enjoy the protection of Elizabeth I. In 1593–4 he moved to the Essex village of Stondon Massey, close to the homes of the Catholic Petre family. Again, records show that the Byrds were routinely fined for recusancy. The composer was not deterred, however, completing many Latin works for private Catholic devotions, three Mass settings and a series of fine motets among them, and boldly publishing these in his two Gradualia collections of 1605 and 1607.

Byrd probably sang at the funeral of Elizabeth I and the coronation of James I in 1603; certainly, he remained a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal under the new king and took part in royal entertainments. In 1608 Byrd’s wife died and was buried at Stondon. His later years were actively spent overseeing the copying of manuscripts by other composers, preserving his own works in such published collections as Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets and Parthenia, and preparing second and third editions of his earlier publications. In 1614 he contributed four songs to William Leighton’s The Teares or Lamentacions of a Sorrowfull Soule, his last works to appear in print in his lifetime. Byrd died at Stondon on 4 July 1623 and was buried next to his wife in the village church.

Profile by Andrew Stewart © BBC




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William Byrd Tracks

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William Byrd
Lullaby
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Lullaby
William Byrd
Rorate coeli for 5 voices
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Rorate coeli for 5 voices
William Byrd
Fortune arr Kroll
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Fortune arr Kroll
William Byrd
Laudate pueri Dominum for 6 voices
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Laudate pueri Dominum for 6 voices
William Byrd
Rorate caeli desuper
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Rorate caeli desuper

Rorate caeli desuper

Choir
Bristol Cathedral Choir
Conductor
mark lee
William Byrd
Miserere mihi Domine
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Miserere mihi Domine
William Byrd
The Earle of Oxford's March (MB.28 No.93) [orig. for keyboard]
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The Earle of Oxford's March (MB.28 No.93) [orig. for keyboard]
William Byrd
Monsieur's Almain
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Monsieur's Almain

Monsieur's Almain

Music Arranger
Ensemble
The Morley Consort
William Byrd
The Woods so Wild
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The Woods so Wild
William Byrd
Come to me grief forever
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Come to me grief forever
William Byrd
Come to me grief forever
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Come to me grief forever
William Byrd
Mass for 4 Voices - Sanctus
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Mass for 4 Voices - Sanctus

Mass for 4 Voices - Sanctus

Ensemble
Pro Arte Singers
Conductor
William Byrd
The Great Service (Magnificat)
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The Great Service (Magnificat)
William Byrd
Hughe Ashton's Ground
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Hughe Ashton's Ground
William Byrd
Pavane in A minor ('Earl of Salisbury')
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Pavane in A minor ('Earl of Salisbury')
William Byrd
Quomodo cantabimus
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Quomodo cantabimus
William Byrd
Haec dies
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Haec dies

Haec dies

Choir
Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge
William Byrd
Pavan and Galliard No 2 in C minor
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Pavan and Galliard No 2 in C minor
William Byrd
Ave verum corpus (Gradualia Vol 1)
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Ave verum corpus (Gradualia Vol 1)
William Byrd
Ne irascaris, Domine (Civitas sancti tui)
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Ne irascaris, Domine (Civitas sancti tui)
William Byrd
Gradualia Book 1: Antiphon, Ave Regina Coelorum
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Gradualia Book 1: Antiphon, Ave Regina Coelorum
Peter Phillips & The Tallis Scholars & William Byrd
IV. Sanctus et Benedictus
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IV. Sanctus et Benedictus

IV. Sanctus et Benedictus

Performer
Peter Phillips & The Tallis Scholars
William Byrd
Atollite portas for 6 voices
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Atollite portas for 6 voices
William Byrd
Iustorum animae
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Iustorum animae
William Byrd
Vigilate for 5 voices
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Vigilate for 5 voices
William Byrd
Mass for Five Voices: Kyrie
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Mass for Five Voices: Kyrie
William Byrd
O salutaris hostia
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O salutaris hostia
William Byrd
The fair young virgin, part 1
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The fair young virgin, part 1
William Byrd
Though Amaryllis dance in green
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Though Amaryllis dance in green
William Byrd
Ne irascaris, Domine (Civitas sancti tui)
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Ne irascaris, Domine (Civitas sancti tui)
William Byrd
Mass for 5 voices (Agnus Dei)
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Mass for 5 voices (Agnus Dei)
William Byrd
Sing joyfully unto God
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Sing joyfully unto God
William Byrd
Justorum animae
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Justorum animae

Justorum animae

Choir
Kantos Chamber Choir
Conductor
Ellie Slorach
William Byrd
The Bells
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The Bells
William Byrd
Browning, 'The leaves be green' à 5
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Browning, 'The leaves be green' à 5
William Byrd
Laudibus in sanctis
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Laudibus in sanctis
William Byrd
Visita quaesumus, Domine for 4 voices
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Visita quaesumus, Domine for 4 voices
William Byrd
Bow thine Ear, O Lord
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Bow thine Ear, O Lord
William Byrd
Fantasia for keyboard (MB.28.46) in D minor [no.41 from "My Lady Nevell's book"]
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Fantasia for keyboard (MB.28.46) in D minor [no.41 from "My Lady Nevell's book"]
William Byrd
Agnus Dei, from 'Mass for five voices'
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Agnus Dei, from 'Mass for five voices'
William Byrd
Domine, praestolamur for 5 voices
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Domine, praestolamur for 5 voices
William Byrd
Mass for 4 voices (Credo)
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Mass for 4 voices (Credo)
William Byrd
Vigilate (Cantiones sacrae 1589)
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Vigilate (Cantiones sacrae 1589)
William Byrd
Nunc dimittis for 5 voices
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Nunc dimittis for 5 voices
William Byrd
Goodnight Ground for keyboard (MB.27.42) in C major
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Goodnight Ground for keyboard (MB.27.42) in C major
William Byrd
O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth
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O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth
William Byrd
Laudibus in sanctis (Cantiones Sacrae Vol 2)
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Laudibus in sanctis (Cantiones Sacrae Vol 2)
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