Department of Music
The English-Texted Music of William Byrd
Leeds, September 2004
LEEDS UNIVERSITY CENTRE FOR ENGLISH MUSIC
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
LEEDS LS2 9JT
+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
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
Back to Index of Conferences
Back to Index of Past Conferences, 2004