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WILLIAM BYRD  

(1540 - 1623)

The greatest English composer of his generation, comparable in stature to his most distinguished continental contemporaries, William Byrd was a versatile composer. Although remaining a Catholic, loyalty that cost him considerable trouble in times of persecution in England, he served as a member of the Chapel Royal, providing music for the liturgy of the Church of England and, on a more private scale, for his fellow Catholics.

Church Music

Byrd’s church compositions may be separated into those for the Catholic liturgy and those designed for the officially recognised Church of England. The first category includes settings of the Mass for three, four and five voices, and a large quantity of other works for the various seasons of the church year. For the Church of England Byrd wrote a Great Service and three other service settings, using the texts of the Anglican liturgy. In addition, there are a number of anthems, psalm settings and consort songs with sacred texts of one sort or another.

Vocal Music

Byrd also wrote a number of secular consort songs—songs with accompaniment entrusted to varying numbers of instruments.

Consort Music

Following the popular fashion of the time, Byrd provided music for various groups of instruments, usually to be performed in homogeneous ensembles and generally on viols (bowed and fretted string instruments that were held in higher social esteem than the lowly violin). Byrd’s consort music includes a number of In Nomines, a curious English form of music based on a fragment taken from a setting of the Benedictus by the 16th-century composer Taverner. To these consort pieces may be added a series of fantasias (contrapuntal music, as the title then implied).

Keyboard Music

Byrd was well-known as a keyboard player. He wrote a wealth of music for the virginals: fantasias, pavans and galliards (the fashionable paired dances of the time), and song variations. The Earl of Salisbury Pavan and Galliard is a familiar recital piece, as are the variations on Sellinger’s Round and The Carman’s Whistle. Some of these are among the 42 pieces preserved in My Ladye Nevells Booke, a finely bound volume, copied in 1591 for the wife of Sir Henry Nevell and since 2006 in the possession of the British Library.

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
Artist Profile Series - José Serebrier Naxos 8.505086
Early English Choral Music Naxos 8.505079
Meditation Naxos 8.508010
Sacred Masterpieces of the Renaissance Naxos 8.505020

View by Role: Classical Composer | Arranger
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
A TO Z OF CLASSICAL MUSIC (The) (2nd Expanded Edition, 2000) Naxos Educational
8.555319-20
Chamber Music
AGNUS DEI - Classical Music for Reflection and Meditation Naxos
8.556701
Choral - Sacred
All the Queen's Men - Music for Elizabeth I (Sarum Consort, Mackay) Naxos
8.572582
Choral - Sacred
ANGLAR (Angels) Naxos
8.503096
Choral - Sacred, Chamber Music
Art and Music: Vermeer - Music of His Time Naxos
8.558159
Chamber Music, Choral - Sacred
ARTISTRY OF HANS FAGIUS (THE) BIS
BIS-CD-140-41
Instrumental
BACH, J.S. / PALESTRINA, G. / BYRD, W. / CLARKE, J. / BOCCERINI, L. / HAYDN, J. / MATTHESON, J.: Stokowski Transcriptions, Vol. 2 Naxos
8.572050
Orchestral
BYRD / TALLIS: Masses Naxos
8.553239
Choral - Sacred
BYRD, W. / TAVERNER, J.: Masses / Motets (King's College Choir, Willcocks) Newton Classics
NC8802020
Choral - Sacred
BYRD, W.: Fantasias for Harpsichord (Complete) (G. Wilson) Naxos
8.572433
Instrumental
BYRD, W.: Mass a 4 / PLUMMER, J.: Missa Sine nomine / TALLIS, T.: Mass for 4 Voices (Times Go by Turns) (New York Polyphony) BIS
BIS-2037
Vocal Ensemble
BYRD: Consort and Keyboard Music / Songs and Anthems Naxos
8.550604
Chamber Music, Vocal, Chamber Music, Vocal, Chamber Music, Instrumental, Chamber Music, Vocal
BYRD: Masses for Four and Five Voices Naxos
8.550574
Choral - Sacred
BYRD: My Ladye Nevells Booke (1591) (Complete) Naxos
8.570139-41
Instrumental
Chamber and Vocal Music (16th-17th Centuries) – READE, R. / JOHNSON, J. RAVENSCROFT, T. / MORLEY, T. (The Ladyes Delight) (Baltimore Consort) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90252
Chamber Music
Chamber Music - EIKE, B. / HOLBORNE, A. / DOWLAND, J. / BIBER, H.I.F. von / BUXTEHUDE, D. (The Image of Melancholy) (Eike) BIS
BIS-2057
Vocal
Chamber Music (Baroque) - JENKINS, J. / SIMPSON, J. / LOCKE, M. (An English Fancy) (Trio Settecento) Cedille
CDR90000-135
Chamber Music
Chamber Music (Renaissance) – D'ESTREE, J. / JOHNSON, J. / RAVENSCROFT, T. / ALLISON, R. / MORLEY, T. / BYRD, W. / DOWLAND, J. (Baltimore Consort) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90142
Chamber Music
Chamber Music (Renaissance) - JANEQUIN, C. / FESTA, S. / NOLLA, G.D. / ARCADELT, J. / MORLEY, T. / RADESCA, E.A. / JOSQUIN DES PREZ (Musica Fresca) Divox
CDX-79804
Instrumental
Choral Concert: Collegium Vocale zu Franziskanern Luzern - BRITTEN, B. / VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, R. / ELGAR, E. / KODALY, Z. (Sacred and Profane) Solo Musica
SM185
Choral - Sacred
Choral Concert: The King's Singers - SCHUTZ, H. / POULENC, F. / LASSO, O. (Pater Noster: A Choral Reflection on the Lord's Prayer) Naxos
8.572987
Choral - Sacred
Choral Music - HILDEGARD OF BINGEN / PALESTRINA, G. / BYRD, W. / ISAAC, H. / JOSQUIN DES PREZ / DUFAY, G. (Voices of Ascension Chorus) Delos
DE3174
Choral - Sacred
Choral Music - PALESTRINA, G. / JOSQUIN DES PREZ / VIADANA, L. / VIADANA, L. / VICTORIA, T. / BYRD, W. (Beyond Chant Mysteries of the Renaissance) Delos
DE3165
Choral - Sacred
Discover Early Music Naxos Educational
8.558170-71
Choral - Sacred
Early English Organ Music, Vol. 2 Naxos
8.550719
Instrumental
Early Music (The Glory of) Naxos
8.554064
Chamber Music
EARLY MUSIC FOR MEDITATION Naxos
8.557652
Chamber Music
Elizabethan Songs and Consort Music Naxos
8.554284
Vocal
ENGLISH CONSORT MUSIC BIS
BIS-CD-305
Chamber Music
ENKELIN AANIN (Angel's Voices) Naxos
8.503147
Choral - Sacred
FOOD OF LOVE (THE) - Early Instrumental Music of the British Isles (Hesperus) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90290
Chamber Music
FROM BYRD TO BIRDS BIS
BIS-CD-57
Chamber Music
GLORIA - Classical Music for Reflection and Meditation Naxos
8.556702
Choral - Sacred
Grand Tour (Trio Settecento) (4-CD Box Set) Cedille
CDRBOX1002
Chamber Music
HARPSICHORD (Eternal) Naxos
8.572184
Instrumental
Harpsichord Recital: Koopman, Ton - PICCHI, G. / GIBBONS, O. / MORLEY, T. / BULL, J. / FARNABY, G. / BYRD, W. / PHILIPS, P. / PLAYFORD, J. Capriccio
C10211
Instrumental
HARRY OUR KING - Music for King Henry VIII Tudor Carpe Diem
CD-16292
Chamber Music
HEAVENLY NOYSE: English Music for Mixed Consort BIS
BIS-CD-451
Chamber Music
Introduction to Early Music (An) Naxos
8.551203
Choral - Sacred
JOCULATORES UPSALIENSES: Woods, Women and Wine BIS
BIS-CD-120
Chamber Music
Keyboard Recital: Tilney, Colin - MORLEY, T. / SWEELINCK, J.P. / GIBBONS, O. / BULL, J. / FARNABY, G. / BYRD, W. / SCHILDT, M. (Go From My Window) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90195
Instrumental
Keyboard Recital: Vicens, Catalina - BYRD, W. / BULL, J. / GIBBONS, O. (Parthenia) Carpe Diem
CD-16298
Instrumental
KING'S SINGERS (THE): From Byrd to the Beatles (PAL) Arthaus Musik
101248
Classical Concert
LEGENDS OF THE PIANO - Acoustic Recordings 1901-1924 Naxos Historical
8.112054
Instrumental
Lute Recital: DOWLAND, J. / BYRD, W. (Blame not my Lute: Elizabethan Lute Music and Poetry) Dorian Sono Luminus
DSL-92105
Instrumental
Lute Recital: McFarlane, Ronn – ATTAINGNANT, P. / LE ROY, A. / BYRD, W. / CUTTING, F. / JUDENKUNIG, H. / NEWSIDLER, H. (The Renaissance Lute) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90186
Instrumental
MUSIC FOR SHAKESPEARE'S THEATRE Naxos
8.570708
Vocal
MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - LONDON: A Musical Tour of London and Oxford (NTSC) Naxos
2.110501
Classical Concert
MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - SCOTLAND: A Musical Tour of the Country's Past and Present (NTSC) Naxos
2.110519
Classical Concert
MYSTIC VOICES - Divine Music from the Heavens Naxos
8.570169-70
Choral - Sacred
Organ Recital: Koopman, Ton - BULL, J. / TOMKINS, T. / GIBBONS, O. / PURCELL, H. / BLOW, J. / BYRD, W. / BOYCE, W. (The Organ at Adlington Hall) Capriccio
C10255
Instrumental
Organ Recital: Scandali, Luca - VEGGIO, C. / CAVAZZONI, M.A. / HOFHAIMER, P. / BULL, J. / BYRD, W. (L'Organo in Europa fra Rinascimento e Barocco) Tactus
TC510002
Instrumental
Organ Recital: Žáková, Lucie - ATTAINGNANT, P. / BULL, J. / BYRD, W. / PAIX, J. / SCHMID, B. / SERMISY, C. de (Early Baroque Organ Music) Orlando Records
OR0011
Chamber Music
Passiontide: Music for Solace and Reflection Naxos
8.557025
Choral - Sacred
PEHRSSON, Clas: Music for Recorder Ensemble BIS
BIS-CD-8
Chamber Music
PEZEL: Suite of Dances / HOWARTH: English Dances BIS
BIS-CD-223
Chamber Music
QUEENES COMMAND (THE): Masterpieces of Elizabethan Keyboard Music BIS
BIS-CD-539
Instrumental
Renaissance Masterpieces Naxos
8.550843
Choral - Sacred
Renaissance Music - BYRD, W. / HOLMES, M. / FARNABY, G. / CAMPION, T. / DOWLAND, J. / MORLEY, T. (Elizabeth's Music) (Fallis) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90015
Chamber Music, Instrumental
Renaissance Music - BYRD, W. / WILSON, J. / JOHNSON, R. / DOWLAND, J. / HOLMES, M. / PLAYFORD, J. / RAVENSCROFT, T. (Shakespeare's Music) (Fallis) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-90017
Chamber Music
RICHARDSON, F.: Keyboard Works (Complete) (G. Wilson) Naxos
8.572997
Instrumental
SAINTS AND SINNERS - The Music of Medieval and Renaissance Europe [10 CD Boxed Set] Naxos
8.501067
Choral - Sacred
SERENE JOURNEYS THROUGH CLASSICAL MUSIC Delos
DE1608
Choral - Sacred
STABAT MATER - Classical Music for Reflection and Meditation Naxos
8.556706
Instrumental
STORY OF BRITISH CLASSICAL MUSIC (THE) Naxos Educational
8.558193-94
Vocal
TAVERNER and TUDOR MUSIC II: Gloria tibi Trinitas (Ars Nova Copenhagen) Ars Nova
8.226056
Choral - Sacred
THREE ELIZABETHS (THE): A Musical Celebration of Britain through the Centuries Naxos
8.557032-33
Vocal
TOMKINS / GIBBONS / BYRD: Consort and Keyboard Music Naxos
8.553241
Vocal, Chamber Music, Vocal, Chamber Music
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE CHAMBER PLAYERS: Voila! Altissimo
75442261252
Chamber Music
Voices of Angels Naxos
8.503071
Choral - Sacred
World of Early Music Naxos
8.554770-71
Instrumental
Role: Arranger 
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