Parke bequeathed the Byrds the promised marriage portion at his death in 1710, and Byrd then agreed to take over the lands left to his wife's sister in exchange for assuming the debts of the Parke estate. He wrote a wealth of music for the virginals, Fantasias, Pavans and Galliards, the fashionable paired dances of the time, and several song variations. Many of these songs continue to be extremely popular, straight through from the time of their inception to today. His vocal music has retained its popularity from his own time directly into ours, and his other music is now growing in appreciation as it is rediscovered. Additional Biography Sources Howes, Frank Stewart, William Byrd, Westport, Conn. These publications comprise one of the supreme testaments in Western music. Fellowes, William Byrd 1936; 2d ed.
However, he often antagonized the authorities in Protestant England because of his leanings towards Roman Catholicism; but his loyalty to the government was never questioned. Later he became a chorister at the Chapel Royal and began composing music while being trained under Thomas Tallis. That is why apart from being fined for recusancy, he did not have to face any kind of persecution. This time the legislation benefited Byrd directly, for he was one of those whose land was chosen for the construction of a warehouse. The most striking element found within the tunes in these collections was the inclusion of vocal parallels, which Byrd synced in line with the instrumental sections of the songs. On the whole, though, the effect of this procedure was to bring Byrd's compositions into alignment with the Italian madrigal, by then new only in England, and they are rather stiff and unwieldy part-songs compared to the livelier polyphonic works of the Italians. Later he accepted a position in the Royal Chapel of Queen Elizabeth, and retired at the age of fifty to a home at Stondon Massey near the Essex estate of one of his richest patrons, John Petre.
He was born in England, and began what was to be an outstanding career in music, from a very early age. He published two sets of Gradualia after the turn of the seventeenth century, which were motets intended for performance during Catholic services. Byrd was a Catholic in Protestant England, and though this position demanded a certain amount of seclusion and discretion, his loyalty to the Crown was never in doubt. His influence with his fellow Virginia derived from his unique experience and knowledge. Byrd was the leading English composer of his generation, and together with his continental colleagues c. The books were written in English, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Dutch, and Hebrew. 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.
Thanks to your advocacy efforts on our behalf, we're happy to report that the recently passed Omnibus Spending Bill includes a very small increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities! Surviving evidence about Byrd's emotional involvement with his second wife and their one son and three daughters is less abundant and less illuminating than about his first. At one point he thought that he might have to sell Westover in order to meet his debts, but he was able to discharge them fully before his death. None of the commissioners accompanied the surveyors to their final destination at the headwaters of the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, but Byrd wrote the report that was sent to England with the survey in August 1737 and that was ultimately set aside after his death in favor of a finding more in line with the report of a competing commission that Lord Fairfax appointed. The masses show Byrd in a reflective mode: it would seem that he composed these cycles as exercises, as easily performable functional music, and as historical examples. In the autumn of 1733 he conceived the plan to establish what became the cities of Petersburg and Richmond at the falls of the Appomattox and James rivers, the latter of his own property. These pieces were published with text underlays to each part, as was the fashion at the time, but Byrd also indicates that they can be performed with a single singer with viol consort accompaniment — a specifically English practice. A few examples where Catholic themes are evident are Come to Me Grief 1580 and Delight is Dead 1580.
Although he had learned valuable lessons about court politics, his four years as colonial agent had left him with little to show for either himself or his native country. These compositions usually followed a similar trend of appreciating and handpicking thematic topics and arrangements from the Christian practice of Tenebrae, and demonstrating a genuine interpretation of Elizabethan Catholic practices and rituals. It was during this period that he was charged with recusancy, for which he was troubled the rest of his life, and that he acquired the first of his leases, which were to embroil him in litigation from this time forward. In the Cantiones sacrae Byrd clearly though tacitly went against the policy of the English Reformation, intended not only to remove the political hegemony of Rome from England but also to expunge Latin from the liturgy. Following a strong doctrinal theme together with various improvisational vocal, chamber and keyboard techniques, Byrd still sets a revolutionary example in modern classical music.
Also, Byrd's pre-eminent position at the beginning of music publication in England allowed him to leave a substantial printed legacy at the inception of many important musical forms. These were heady achievements for a young colonial, and one can imagine Byrd's anticipation in the summer of 1696 as he planned his first trip to Virginia in fifteen years. And that the composer himself was launching these editions as a financial venture is another. Byrd wrote mostly for his own enjoyment and the amusement or edification of his friends, but he occasionally also wrote for the public. He music shows the impressions of the Italian, Palestrina, and the Spainish school, Vittoria. They moved completely off common ground, however, when the lieutenant governor, over Byrd's opposition, reorganized the collection of quitrents in order to enlarge the royal revenue. He manifested the same lack of deep attachment in his relationship with their two sons and two daughters.
Although Byrd had written many English pieces, he is best remembered for his Latin sacred music. These included the 1588 collection that Byrd named Psalms, Sonnets and Songs of Sadness and Pietie, and the 1589 compositions collectively recognized as Songs of Sundrie Natures. More evidence of Byrd's concern for marketability appears with the Songs of Sundrie Natures, Some of Gravitie and Others of Myrth, Fit for All Companies and Voyces 1589. It was a constant negotiation, but, ultimately, a successful one: Unlike many of his coreligionists, Byrd died in bed. Byrd died at Westover on August 26, 1744, and was buried in the garden there.
Fines Byrd incurred for failing to attend Protestant services seem to have been, for the most part, royally forgiven. English music of the period was amazingly rich, dominating the music of the continent in depth and variety, in a way that was not seen before or since. There he completed his major prose works and spent much of his time supervising his plantation. Byrd also published an important collection of his keyboard pieces, entitled My Lady Neville's Book. However, connections and wealth helped to smooth over Byrd's involvement with Bacon, and a few years later he sat in Virginia's House of Burgesses, in 1683 moving up to the more elite Council of State—testimony to his growing prominence. It would be impossible to over-estimate his subsequent influence on the music of England, the Low Countries, and Germany. In the contemporary setting of music, where so many different genres have been developed, the classical works of William Byrd are still held up to the highest recognition.
He served continuously until his death thirty-five years later. These were years of close professional association with Tallis, his former mentor and senior by some 40 years. The records are unclear as to whether Byrd moved to Westminster at this time. He took an interest in his father's business and political affairs, but he stretched beyond the older man's world by encircling himself with social types and activities that his father had usually kept on the periphery of his own life. After the accommodation Byrd set sail for England again in the summer of 1721 as paid agent of the burgesses. From Waltham he appears to have gone briefly to Cathedral, where he is listed among the singers.
His wide reading was reflected in the cultivated tone of his writings, and liveliness of his mind found expression in the keen insights and sharp humor of his personal correspondence. Those Latin pieces, together with five to English texts printed by Protestant printer John Day in his Certaine Notes… issued 1565, though partially printed in 1560 , all of his music that Tallis saw in print during his lifetime. It is, however, out of date, as is Frank Howes, William Byrd 1928. Presumably his motivation was to increase sales by appealing to a wider public, or at least to a greater number of performers. Quitt and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography.