A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James T. Gerber, Music Associate
The composer William Byrd (c. 1540-1623) is considered one of the great masters of English Renaissance music. His oeuvre of approximately 470 compositions includes sacred and secular vocal works, keyboard pieces, and music for small, Instrumental ensembles or consort music. Byrd made significant contributions to the sacred music repertoire of both the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions, composing church anthems, motets, masses and service music, and psalm settings. Through his works, Byrd assimilated and transformed the compositional forms and styles of his native England as well as those of continental Europe in a manner that gives his works their unique identity. Many of Byrd’s compositions were published during his lifetime; he and Thomas Tallis held a joint patent for the printing of music from 1575 until 1596.
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