Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

Episode 50—A Catholic Composer in Queen Elizabeth’s Court, Pt. II—Kerry McCarthy

By Thomas V. Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 09, 2019 | In Interviews, The Catholic Culture Podcast

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One of England’s greatest composers, William Byrd is a fascinating and complicated figure of Catholic musical history. A musician in the Royal Chapel of Queen Elizabeth, he associated with the highest ranks of the Anglican establishment while writing music on the side for secret Catholic masses.

In part two of this interview, singer and scholar Kerry McCarthy discusses the high level of amateur musicianship in Byrd’s England, his attitude towards music as revealed in his writings, his approach to text-setting and relationship with contemporary poets, and Renaissance rhythm. An overview is given of more of the genres Byrd worked in, from keyboard and consort music to motets and Mass propers.

In this episode you will hear the following pieces by Byrd (all used with kind permission from the groups named):

Fantasia in A minor for keyboard, performed by Olga Pashchenko

In nomine #5, performed by The Rose Consort of Viols on Byrd: Consort and Keyboard Music, Songs and Anthems

Tristitia et anxietas, performed by Gallicantus on The Word Unspoken

Ave verum corpus, performed by Ensemble ZENE on Via Dolorosa


Part I of this interview

Kerry McCarthy, Byrd

Olga Pashchenko

The Rose Consort of Viols


Ensemble ZENE

Thomas V. Mirus is a pianist living in New York City. He is Director of Podcasts for, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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