Department of Music

The English-Texted Music of William Byrd
Leeds, September 2004


     The English-Texted Music of William Byrd
     11 September 2004

Colleagues were originally notified of two related and consecutive conferences to be
held in the School of Music, University of Leeds, 10-12 September 2004. I regret that
the second conference has been postponed: although it raised a good deal of interest,
too few papers were offered to make the event viable.

The remaining conference, on The English-Texted Music of William Byrd, will therefore
be a one-day event, taking place on Saturday 11 September 2004.

Philip Brett's second volume of the William Byrd trilogy, on the songs and English
church music, was never written. Much work has been done by many scholars (including
Brett) since that book was expected, however, and this conference will be an
opportunity to review the state of scholarship concerning Byrd's English-texted
music. What exactly do we know, and what shape does the subject-matter now take? Is a
book of the type originally envisaged still appropriate? -- and if not, what stategy
might be helpful in making use of our knowledge in this area?

Overnight accommodation may be available in a nearby hall of residence or at the
University guesthouse: these can be booked through me on the booking form.
Alternatively, there are hotels and guest-houses in the vicinity.

A revised booking form and information-sheet is now on the LUCEM web-site

Enquiries should be made to
Professor Richard Rastall
School of Music
University of Leeds

+44 (0)113 343 2581

Provisional programme for the day

10 am   Coffee

10.30   Richard Turbet: What we do and don't know about Byrd's
        English-texted music (provisional title)

        A review of the existing literature, discussing what aspects of the
        English-texted music have been studied, and to what depth, and
        what has not been mentioned in print. This will be a preliminary
        to a discussion on what course a book or books about Byrd's
        English-texted music might take, whether proceeding with such a
        project is viable, and if so, how it might be expedited.

11.15   Roger Bowers: Sacred or Domestic: criteria for identification of
        the initial destinations of Byrd's music to vernacular texts

        Among Byrd's surviving vernacular compositions, many have texts
        that are devotional, sacred, or overtly ecclesiastical. These were
        intended in he first instance for use either in church or in the
        devout household, but many items may have been treated by
        performers (and some also by the composer) as readily adaptable
        for use in the alternative location as well. This paper will set
        out criteria for deciding the intended inaugural destination.

12      Recital of Byrd's English-Texted Music

12.30   Lunch   A buffet lunch will be provided, catering for vegetarians

1.30    David Mateer: William Byrd and Sir John Petre's cultural circle in
        the 1580s

        For whom did Byrd write the pieces contained in his 1588 and 1589
        song publications? A snap answer is "a variety of people with
        court connections", but can we be more precise about the milieu in
        which Byrd worked during the 1580s? This paper will review the
        possibilities, and will discuss Sir John Petre's account books,
        literary tastes and friends and associates, which suggest him as
        the most likely candidate.

2.15    Jeremy Smith: William Byrd's B1, the Succession, Diana, Oriana and
        the Essex Revolt: Political Readings and New Interpretations

        In mid-April 1600 a group of recusants meeting at the house of the
        music printer Thomas East in Aldersgate Street, London, were
        arrested for treason. East had just prepared three Byrd editions
        at the press, including the fourth edition, B1 (discovered last
        year), of the Psalmes, Sonets and songs. This paper will study the
        events and people surrounding the publication of B1, shedding new
        light on the strong political implications of Byrd's songs and
        proposing a new understanding of the "Oriana" madrigals.

3 pm    Afternoon tea

3.15    Round-table discussion, led by Roger Bowers, David Mateer, Kerry
        McCarthy, Richard Rastall (chair), Jeremy Smith and Richard Turbet

        This session is intended to review issues brought to light during
        the day, to set them in the context of existing scholarship, and
        to come to an understanding of how knowledge of Byrd's
        English-texted music has progressed and where it might go in the
        immediate future. There will be opportunities for input from all
        delegates at the conference.

4.15            Conference disperses

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