HOSE WHO KNOW ME, or have read my writings, know of my special affection for the music of William Byrd. In my role at the parish of St. Rita in Dallas, I have designated the month of October to be especially dedicated to his music within the context of our liturgies. Each Sunday we will sing at least one work of Byrd’s, either in Mass or at Vespers (we sing Vespers each Sunday at 4pm). The inspiration for this exploration comes, most unsubtly, from a recent post by my colleague, Dr. Lucas Tappan, who referenced Westminster Cathedral and their singing of the entire Gradualia over the course of a calendar year. Understandably, our efforts come nowhere near this monumental undertaking. Yet, having a fairly substantial sampling of this repertoire in a condensed period will, I hope, bring to both our singers and our community a new perspective and appreciation for the genius of Byrd. Here is our music plan for the month of October.
Thomas More Kyrie • Some pieces are ‘standard’ repertoire, while others (Tantum ergo, for example) have been excerpted from various sources such as the Litanies of 1605. Another example is the adaptation of a short Kyrie from the Litanies which I am using as an extension of a chant Kyrie I composed in 2011. This use of choral extensions is being offered to us by Jeff Ostrowski in his recent posts, and I am a big fan.
* PDF Download • Kyrie in Honor of Saint Thomas More (ORDINARY FORM)
—Polyphony by William Byrd (d. 1623) • Plainsong by Alfred Calabrese.
Bringing Byrd To Life • Because we are a Novus Ordo parish, certain adaptations will be necessary regarding the length of some of the Ordinary sections. Purists will cringe at some cutting, but my feeling is this: better to see the name of Byrd printed and hear as much of the music as possible than to leave it enclosed in a dusty closet in some back room, never to see the light of day. This is a lot of music, some of it very tricky. Please pray for our efforts and give thanks to God for the music, life, and legacy of the great William Byrd.
Here’s the direct URL link.