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Byrd: My Ladye Nevells Booke

Byrd: My Ladye Nevells Booke

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The only complete available recording of a landmark in Elizabethan keyboard music. With a huge catalogue of Brilliant Classics recordings to his credit, Pieter-Jan Belder has won particular praise for his ambitious project to record the complete Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (95915), a treasury of English keyboard music from the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean era. Now he focuses his attention on the greatest English composer of that age, with a volume dedicated to William Byrd, and to his largest single collection of music for the keyboard. Byrd's vocal works would have assured him a place in history as the greatest English composer of his generation. Yet he was also arguably the outstanding composer of his time in the realm of instrumental music - probably the first musician to achieve supreme stature simultaneously in music for voices, for instrumental consort, and for solo keyboard instruments. Though it has passed through the hands of many celebrated figures such as Elizabeth I herself, My Lady Nevells Booke has belonged continuously tomembers of the Nevill family since 1830, and has been kept at the family seat near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. When Christopher Hogwood made the first complete recording of its contents, he wrote that it 'occupies a unique and privileged position from the musical, musicological, chronological and calligraphic points of view.' The copying of the pieces was undertaken and completed in September 1591 by John Baldwin, a clerk at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and Lady Nevell’s name was incorporated into the design of the cover as well as the pieces dedicated to her opening each of the volume’s three main sections. The Lady Nevell in question was a generous, capable and cultivated woman who endowed a charitable school and an Oxford college. Like The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, My Ladye Nevells Booke embraces the most popular genres of its day. Its contents are typical fare for English Renaissance composers: dances, variation sets, marches, contrapuntal fantasies andprogrammatic pieces, and the repertory comes from a period beginning in the mid 1560s. Byrd makes each of these genres his own with consummate ingenuity; the variety and the beauty of the collection as a whole rewards players and listeners alike. The CD booklet contains an extensive essay on My Ladye Nevells Booke by Jon Baxendale, who is co-editor of the latest edition of the score

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 3
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Brilliant Classics
    • UPC/Barcode: 5028421968872
    • Item Number: BRI96887