These are non-liturgical works - indeed the text of Infelix ego draws on the Bible only indirectly through the pen of savonarola. The smaller-scale fantasias those a3 and a4 use a light-textured imitative style which owes something to Continental models, while the five and six-part fantasias employ large-scale cumulative construction and allusions to snatches of popular songs. Byrd was accomplished in composing for every genre, and often did so. By the 1590s he was composing masses, but he continued to write Anglican-appropriate music as well. At some point, he tired of compromise and left the court, keeping his position at the Chapel in absentia. In 1572, however, he was replaced at Lincoln Cathedral by Thomas Butler, whom he himself had chosen, and it is clear that at that time he moved to London, where he shared the post of organist with Tallis.
A final volume of English vocal music from 1611 was entitled Psalms, Songs, and Sonetts. These were mostly written for private use in the Catholic circles where they allowed him to write freely without any liturgical considerations. He continued to write secular songs, madrigals, and keyboard pieces until the end of his life, but his later church music, composed during the years in Essex, is exclusively Latin. The collection includes a series of ten pavans and galliards in the usual three-strain form with embellished repeats of each strain. Byrd and his family were fined hugely, but there were concessions, probably at the behest of Elizabeth I. Presumably his motivation was to increase sales by appealing to a wider public, or at least to a greater number of performers. In 1676 he jeopardized his growing economic and political position by joining briefly in Bacon's Rebellion against the troops of royal governor William Berkeley.
The music could be performed on harpsichord, virginal, or organ. By the age of 29, he had published keyboard music in the most prestigious publication of keyboard music of the time,. Later he became a chorister at the Chapel Royal and began composing music while being trained under Thomas Tallis. The two musicians used the services of the French printer , who had settled in England and previously produced an edition of a collection of chansons in London Receuil du mellange, 1570. Together with two sets of English songs, discussed below, these collections, dedicated to powerful Elizabethan lords and , probably formed part of Byrd's campaign to re-establish himself in Court circles after the reverses of the 1580s. He published his three famous settings of the Mass Ordinary between 1592 and 1595, and followed them in 1605 and 1607 with his two books of Gradualia, an elaborate year-long musical cycle. The Cantiones were a financial failure.
In stylistic terms the motets of the Gradualia form a sharp contrast to those of the Cantiones sacrae publications. Byrd was probably in his early thirties when he was appointed Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, but his compositional style was already fully formed. There are secular songs in English. For many years, scholars knew little about his birth, upbringing, and education. The first fruits of their monopoly were the Cantiones, quae ab argumento sacrae vocantur of 1575. This was a great risk to take during the 1570s and 1580s.
For obvious reasons, the Gradualia never achieved the popularity of Byrd's earlier works. As we have seen, Byrd had begun setting Latin liturgical texts as a teenager, and he seems to have continued to do so at Lincoln. . The two composers were granted a patent for printing and publishing music. He wrote several Anglican services that were popular in their day and remain so to this day. Most books say that he was born in , but a that was found recently makes us think he was probably born late in or in 1540. He also wrote a large amount of Anglican church music for the Chapel Royal, including such masterpieces as the ten-voice Great and well-known such as Sing joyfully.
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. Being on good terms with the Queen must have helped him. The pieces were originally written for solo voice and instrumental consort, but had been adapted for five vocal parts. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1985. After being educated in England, he became active in the politics of colonial America.
Perhaps his most impressive achievement as a composer was his ability to transform so many of the main musical forms of his day and stamp them with his own identity. Domine praestolamur 1589 is a good example of this style, laid out in imitative paragraphs based on subjects which characteristically emphasize the expressive minor second and minor sixth, with continuations which subsequently break off and are heard separately another technique which Byrd had learnt from his study of Ferrabosco. This volume is important as one of the earliest examples of beautiful melodic writing for the keyboard. The three-part section includes settings of metrical versions of the seven , in an archaic style which reflects the influence of the psalm collections. William Byrd William Byrd born probably or ; died Stondon Massey, was the greatest of his time.
Anglican church music Main article: Byrd's staunch adherence to Catholicism did not prevent him from contributing memorably to the repertory of Anglican church music. These two and O clap your hands, are probably his most famous and frequently performed works. It is, however, out of date, as is Frank Howes, William Byrd 1928. With the influx of missionary priests trained in the English in and Rome from the 1570s onwards relations between the authorities and the Catholic community took a further turn for the worse. He moved with his family from Harlington to , a small village near in.