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

By Thomas V. Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Sep 09, 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 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DiebzF-UJ4

In nomine #5, 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

Tristitia et anxietas, performed by Gallicantus on The Word Unspoken https://music.apple.com/us/album/word-unspoken-sacred-music/533746884?app=itunes&ls=1

Ave verum corpus, performed by Ensemble ZENE on Via Dolorosa https://www.highresaudio.com/en/album/view/pd88hj/ensemble-zene-bruno-kele-baujard-purcell-byrd-scarlatti-lotti-allegri-via-dolorosa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioBgfmzRLUE

Links

Part I of this interview https://www.catholicculture.org/podcast/index.cfm?id=49

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

Olga Pashchenko https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfXOSSr0MB_fvePKrSfCQug

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

Gallicantus http://www.gallicantus.com/

Ensemble ZENE https://www.ensemblezene.com/

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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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