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William Byrd Suite
trans. Gordon Jacob
William Byrd (1542-1623) was known for his polyphonic choral and keyboard music, both sacred and secular. On the 300th anniversary of Byrd’s death Gordon Jacob selected six of Byrd’s pieces for inclusion in his commemorative Suite.
The Earle of Oxford’s Marche was Byrd’s initial movement to The Battell, a 16th Century work depicting the participants and events of a battle. The music flows to a steady, stately beat adding dignity to the event. Characteristic of this and all of the movements is the harmonic chord conclusion.
Pavana has the slow duple rhythm of the stately court dance.
Jhon Come Kisse Me Now has a flirtatious vitality often found in English madrigals. It possesses seven variations of an eight-bar tune.
The Mayden’s Song begins simply in the brass, then develops in content with counterpoint and embellished figures while retaining the style of the original.
Wolsey’s Wilde Instrumental texture provides variation to the simple melody.
The Bells A simple rising two-note figure provides the background. Variations of a simple rhythmic figure of the bells, all keyed in B-flat, unfold as the music develops interest and momentum.
Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) was born in London. He studied at Dulwich College and the Royal College of Music. He taught counterpoint, orchestration, and composition. His works include a ballet, concert overture, symphonies, concertos for wind and string instruments, many pedagogic works for piano and for chorus, and a variety of chamber works, songs, and film music.
Last updated on July 18, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band