This is the first comprehensive study of William Byrd’s life (1540-1623) and works to appear for sixty years, and fully takes into consideration recent scholarship. The biographical section includes many newly discovered facts about Byrd and his family, while in the chapters dealing with his music an attempt is made for the first time to outline the chronology of all his compositions. The book begins with a detailed account of Byrd's life, based on a completely fresh examination of original documents, which are quoted extensively. Several previously known documents have now been identified as being in Byrd’s hand, and some fresh holographs have been discovered. A number of questions such as his parentage and date of birth have been conclusively settled. The book continues with a survey of Byrd’s music which pays particular attention to its chronological development, and links it where possible to the events and background of his life. A series of appendices includes additional texts of important documents, and a summary catalogue of works. A bibliography and index complete the book. Besides musical illustrations there is a series of plates illustrating documents and places associated with Byrd.
’a thoroughly praiseworthy achievement.’ Brio ’Harley’s research represents a significant contribution to the study of the composer’s life.’ Choir and Organ ’No lover of Byrd’s sublime music will want to be without it.’ Peter Holman, The Lute, Vol. XXXVII ’the first comprehensive study of the life and works of Byrd since Edmund H. Fellowes’s William Byrd, published in 1936…represents a considerable expansion upon the work of Fellowes, especially in biographical matters, reflecting the research undertaken by many scholars, Harley included, during the intervening 60 years.’ ’if you want only one book about William Byrd,…Mr Harley’s book is undoubtedly the one for you.’ Contemporary Review ’The biographical section is a particularly impressive piece of work: Harley revises even the most basic facts about Byrd’s life’ Annual Byrd Newsletter ’the meticulous detail with which Harley supports has account deserves special commendation’ ’a thoroughly praisewothy achievement, not only on the biographical side, but as a guide to the music.’ Brio ’large college libraries may want to aquire it as a useful source for information. Paper and binding are of high quality.’ Choice ’This is an impressive achievement…John Harley has shed considerable light on a rarely appreciated aspect of the English Reformation’ The Catholic Historical Review ’Mr. Harley’s archival researches alone guarantee that this book will find its own niche within the Byrd literature.’ Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XXIX, No. 4 ’Its painstaking archival research and the author’s familiarity with manuscript material across many fields will not only make this the definitive Byrd reference for many years to come, but serves as a model for scholars in all fields of Renaissance historical investigation.’ Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. LII ’…John Harley has certainly done much to enhance our knowledge of Byrd’s otherwise shadowy hi
Contents: Introduction; London and Westminster 1540-1562; Lincoln 1563-1572; Clerkenwell and Westminster 1572-c.1576; Harlington 1577-1594; Stondon Massey 1594-1623; Sources and Chronology of Byrd's Music; Earliest Vocal Music; Instrumental Works with Cantus Firmi; Early Music for the Anglican Church; Early Instrumental Works without Cantus Firmi; The First 'Sacred Songs'; Motets of the Middle Period; Motets: Style and Development; Instrumental Works of the Middle Period; Secular Songs of the Middle Period; Anglican Music of the Middle Period; Masses; Gradualia; Later Vocal and Instrumental Music; Postscript; Appendices: The Byrd Family; Byrd's Children; Wills; Byrd's Handwriting; William Byrd and St Paul's; Byrd's Portrait; My Ladye Nevells Booke; Catalogue of Byrd's Works; Abbreviations and Public Record Office Classes; Bibliography; Index of Byrd's Works; Name and Subject Index.