Thursday, November 14, 2013

William Byrd: Servant of the Church

Historical Period: Renaissance
Nationality:  English
Born: c. 1543 A.D. in Lincoln, England.
Died:  1623 A.D. in Stonden Massey
Contemporaries: Claudio Monteverdi, Thomas Tallis, Thomas Morley, Tomas Luis de Victoria, and Carlo Gesualdo.
Specialist Genres: sacred music, keyboard works, madrigals, consort pieces for viols.
Major Works: Three Latin and one English Mass; Cantiones sacrae; 140 keyboard pieces. 

     The 1500's was full of good and bad. The first black slaves were sent to America, the Turks conquer Egypt, Verrazano explores America, Nicolaus Copernicus comes out with the book On the Revolution of Heavenly Bodies explaining how the earth revolves around the sun, Shakespeare writes wonderful sonnets and plays, the Gregorian calender is adopted, but probably the biggest even was The Protestant Reformation that swept up Europe bringing many changes in countries, including England. The Reformation was sparked  by Martin Luther who continued to bring reform to the church until he died, but three years before he died William Byrd was born. In 1543, William Byrd was born in England and grew up to be a Catholic Christian in times when there was much fighting between Catholic and Protestant Christians in England. 

     By 1611, Byrd composed and published three Masses in Latin, which is music for the Catholic church service, the Gradualia (a big collection of music for use in the church service), three collections of Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets, English anthems, secular partsongs, madrigals and pieces for viol consort. Byrd wrote such beautiful that even Queen Elizabeth loved his keyboard music. 

Copyright © 2013 Mircea & Daniyela Ionescu. All rights reserved.

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