William Byrd

A Composer of the Renaissance

Early Life, Summarized

Byrd was born into a religious family of four sisters and two brothers in 1543, however his early childhood is disputed because there was so little documentation of what went on in his life. What is known about him is that he was a child prodigy of music, which he had a strong passion for. During his early years, he was a choir boy at London's Royal Chapel until 1568. In addition, more was known about him when he took lessons from another famous composer, Thomas Tallis, which they would later become patronized by Queen Elizabeth the First.

Timeline

1543

  • Byrd was born
1550
  • Tutored by Thomas Tallis
1568
  • Married
  • Became an organist
1572
  • Queen Elizabeth declares him as Gentleman of the Church
1585
  • Byrd's mentor, Thomas Tallis, passes away
  • Byrd gains a monopoly in music production

1593

  • Moved from London to Essex
1623
  • Byrd passes away

Major Works

Gradualia
  • Composed in 1605, for Roman Catholic Church
My Lady Neville's Book
  • Supposedly written for Queen Elizabeth
Psalmes, Sonnets, & Songs of Sadnes and Pietie
  • Written in 1588, contained MANY Madrigals- emotion expressed in vocal songs

Kyrie

  • Composed in 1590-1600, exact date unknown
  • Byrd's most significant song he composed
  • First song to lack a liturgical background- holy prayer
  • What makes this piece so interesting is that it influenced other composers to write different songs without liturgical background
Capitalism - Commissioned by Byrd's patrons, such as Queen Elizabeth

Humanism - Singers express emotion through song

enricator

Kyrie from Missa for 4 voices - W.Byrd by enricator

Sources

"William Byrd". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 17 Jan. 2013
Waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much information, had to cut down, rich in it, though.
"William Byrd." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
Best source in general.
"William Byrd." 2013. The Famous People website. Jan 17 2013, 18:40
Went more into detail about Kyrie.

Pictures

Kyrie - http://www.lewesvoiceworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/ByrdKyrie-3parts.png

Portrait of William Byrd - http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/9272473/William+Byrd+Byrd.jpg

Audio

Kyrie - https://soundcloud.com/enricator/kyrie-from-missa-for-4-voices