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Byrd on Radio 4 Sunday Worship


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Catch me on Radio 4 Sunday Worship discussing Byrd and Faith, presented by Jonathan Arnold, alongside Kerry McCarthy, David Allinson, Harry Christophers and others.


Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets Sunday Worship

William Byrd is regarded as one of England's greatest composers. He lived through turbulent times through the Sixteenth and early-Seventeenth Centuries, witnessing both significant religious and political change. Despite this, he composed some of the finest music of his time for both the Catholic and Anglican Church.

In the week of the 400th anniversary of his death, The Revd Dr Jonathan Arnold reflects on William Byrd's contribution to Christian music and worship. Jonathan visits the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Stondon Massey in rural Essex - where Byrd is thought to be buried - and also the nearby Ingatestone Hall, the home of the composer's patron, Lord Petre. Jonathan speaks to the current Lord Petre about the connection between Byrd and his patron through their Catholic faith.

Harry Christophers, founder and director of The Sixteen, reflects on the sense of longing and faith in Byrd's music, expressed in the composer's particular attention to the texts he set from scripture, and there are contributions from Byrd scholar Professor Kerry McCarthy, music historian Dr Katie Bank, and singer and conductor Dr David Allinson. Byrd remained a Catholic throughout his life, which for many at the time was a dangerous thing to do, but his contribution to music for the Anglican church remains central to music and worship in many churches today.

The readings are Isaiah 64 vv.9-10 (the Latin text of which Byrd set in his motet Ne irascaris, Domine), and Colossians 3 vv.12-17, in which St Paul encourages his readers to 'sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God'.

Byrd's music featured includes Ne irascaris Domine, Tribue Domine, the Nunc dimittis from the Second Service, and movements from his three Masses.

Producer: Ben Collingwood.

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