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St. Andrew’s Anthem for 10-10-11

October 10, 2011 , , , , , , , , ,

From the notes by Drew Collins on his score:

    The conversion of England from the Roman Catholic church to the Church of England by King Henry VIII (and later Queen Elizabeth I) forced those who wished to practice Catholicism to do so covertly, as penalties included fines, scrutiny, torture or death. All vestiges of the “old religion” were summarily prohibited, including the use of Latin (only English was permitted).

    In this highly volatile and oppressive atmosphere, Byrd played a dangerous game. Refusing to conform to the new religion, he composed music for use in Catholic services (held secretly in private residences), more often than not in Latin. He managed this rebellion without loss of life or livelihood, due in part both to his exemplary musical skill and by frequently dedicating publications to the Queen.

    It is widely accepted that Byrd intended his Latin motets for use either in these underground Masses, or for publication in books for use in homes, much like madrigals. Either way, the music was most likely performed 1 or 2 singers/players per part, and with female sopranos


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