William Byrd, the ” Father of Musick “

mon 12 jun 2023
Theme: Early Music

In Documento on June 15th and 29th we’re broadcasting a 2-part series about William Byrd, who died 400 years ago, on July 4, 1623. Reason enough to pay attention to this gifted composer. Part 1 mainly focuses on his sacred music, in part 2 we hear his consort and keyboard music.

As a child, William Byrd (1543-1623) received music lessons from the famous composer Thomas Tallis in the Royal Chapel in London. At the age of 20 he was appointed organist at Lincoln Cathedral, and nine years later, in 1572, together with Tallis, he became organist of the Chapel Royal. In 1575, again with Tallis, he obtained a license from Queen Elizabeth I to print and sell music.

Byrd is regarded as the greatest English composer of his time. Nevertheless, only a small part of his oeuvre was ever performed. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that, although he worked in Protestant England, he was Catholic in heart and soul. Nevertheless, he remained in the Queen’s favour, probably because he composed indiscriminately for Anglican and Catholic worship.

Byrd also wrote instrumental music, such as for organ, virginal and gamba consort. William Byrd died in his eighties on July 4, 1623. Despite clashes with his employers and the fines he had to pay as a result, he died rich and was recorded in the annals of the Chapel Royal as “Father of Musick”.

Part 1 on Thursday 15th June focuses mainly on his sacred, vocal music, in part 2 on Thursday 29th June we hear his consort and keyboard music.

Broadcasts: Part 1: Thursday, June 15th, 2023, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Part 2: Thursday, June 29th, 2023, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM