Episode 49—A Catholic Composer in Queen Elizabeth’s Court, Pt. I—Kerry McCarthy

By Thomas V. Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Sep 04, 2019

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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 this first of two episodes on Byrd, singer and scholar Kerry McCarthy sets Byrd in the context of the musical and religious upheavals of post-Reformation England. She discusses how he navigated English court circles as well as his secret Catholic activities, including his three masses.

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

Fantasia #2 for consort, performed by The Rose Consort of Viols on Byrd: Consort and Keyboard Music, Songs and Anthems https://www.amazon.com/Byrd-Consort-Keyboard-Music-Anthems/dp/B0000013UP

Rejoice Unto the Lord, performed by The Rose Consort of Viols with Tessa Bonner on the same album

Agnus Dei from the Mass for four voices, performed by VOCES8 on A Choral Tapestry https://www.amazon.com/Voces8-Tapestry-BRUCKNER-BYRD-MONTEVERDI/dp/B006UTDFE8

Agnus Dei from the Mass for five voices, performed by The Gesualdo Six https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWFjvqNHgEY


Kerry McCarthy, Byrd https://global.oup.com/academic/product/byrd-9780195388756?cc=us&lang=en&

Interview with Barnaby Smith of VOCES8 https://www.catholicculture.org/podcast/index.cfm?id=24

VOCES8 http://www.voces8.com/

The Gesualdo Six https://www.thegesualdosix.co.uk/

The Rose Consort of Viols https://www.alisoncrum.myzen.co.uk/roseconsortweb/index.htm

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All podcast music by Thomas V. Mirus unless otherwise stated.

Thomas V. Mirus is a pianist, composer, and occasional amateur comedian living in New York City. He produces and hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

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