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The Word Unspoken - Sacred Music by William Byrd and Phiippe de Monte / Gallicantus

Album Summary

>Byrd, William : Tristitia et anxietas, motet for 5 voices (SAATB)
>Byrd, William : Liber primus sacrarum cantionum
>Byrd, William : Tribulationes civitatum, motet for 5 voices (SATBarB)
>Byrd, William : Vide Domine afflictionem, motet for 5 voices (SATBarB)
>de Monte, Philippe : Domine, quid multiplicati sunt, motet for 5 voices (Sacrarum cantiones for 5 voices, Book 5)
>de Monte, Philippe : Miserere mei, Domine, motet for 5 voices
>de Monte, Philippe : Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi, motet (Motets, Book V)
>de Monte, Philippe : O Suavitas et dulcedo, motet for 8 voices
>de Monte, Philippe : Super Flumina Babylonis, for 8 voices
>Byrd, William : Quomodo cantabimus, motet for 8 voices (SSAATTBB)
Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

William Byrd, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, was a confirmed and practising catholic who worshipped in defiance of the Queen. His status and perhaps even his life was preserved thanks partly to the undeniable mastery of his music, and to the fact that he was careful to maintain an output of music appropriate for a Protestant Rite (simple and English) as well as a Catholic one (florid and Latin).

Byrd was by no means the only major Catholic composer working in England during these years. Furthermore, there were English composers whose faith drove them to work abroad, as well as foreign composers who offered sympathy and encouragement to English catholics. Included in this latter category was the Flemish composer Phillipe De Monte who entered into a fascinating compositional correspondence with Byrd. Verses of Psalm 136 'Super Flumina Babylonis' (containing many allegorical references to the plight of catholics unable to practice their faith openly) were set to music and exchanged, in what is now seen as an encoded message of mutual support and friendship between brothers in faith. The texts reveal the Catholic community's sense of isolation ("How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" - Quomodo Cantabimus) and bereavement ("Jerusalem is wasted" - Ne Irascaris), and the elaborate, poetic nature of the encoded messages distributed within it through music.

American Record Guide, March / April 2013
Recognized as one of the most gifted composers of his age. These are richly expressive and quietly poignant performances. The greater part of the program is sung by a male voice quintet of countertenor, tenor, two baritones, and bass. Additional voices are enlisted for the eight-part motets.



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Works Details

>Byrd, William : Tristitia et anxietas, motet for 5 voices (SAATB)
  • Conductor: Gabriel Crouch
  • Ensemble: Gallicantus
  • Running Time: 9 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Byrd, William : Liber primus sacrarum cantionum
  • Running Time: 4 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Byrd, William : Tribulationes civitatum, motet for 5 voices (SATBarB)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Byrd, William : Vide Domine afflictionem, motet for 5 voices (SATBarB)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>Byrd, William : Liber primus sacrarum cantionum :: "Let not Thy wrath" & "O Lord, turn thy wrath"), motet for 5 voices (SAT
  • Running Time: 8 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>de Monte, Philippe : Domine, quid multiplicati sunt, motet for 5 voices (Sacrarum cantiones for 5 voices, Book 5)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>de Monte, Philippe : Miserere mei, Domine, motet for 5 voices
  • Running Time: 3 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>de Monte, Philippe : Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi, motet (Motets, Book V)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral

>de Monte, Philippe : O Suavitas et dulcedo, motet for 8 voices
  • Running Time: 5 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1580

>de Monte, Philippe : Super Flumina Babylonis, for 8 voices
  • Running Time: 5 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Byrd, William : Quomodo cantabimus, motet for 8 voices (SSAATTBB)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1584