Oxford, Christ Church Library, Mus. 489-493

William Byrd: Masses for 3, 4 and 5 voices Facsimile Edition

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When Byrd set the mass to music in the early 1590s, he was doing something no English composer had done for thirty years.

Given the political and cultural risks involved, it is surprising that he managed to do it at all.

The 1559 Act of Uniformity strictly forbade the celebration of the old Catholic liturgy in England. Those who went on cultivating it could be punished with fines, imprisonment, or, in exceptional cases, even death. What had taken place daily at every pre-Reformation altar, from the humblest parish church to the greatest cathedral, was now a rare and dangerous luxury.

Centuries later, these works enjoy exceptional popularity, performed in both the Catholic and protestant liturgies, as well as in concert programmes.

The pinted partbooks are easy to read, even for amateur choirs, and should surely be on the shelves of anyone with an interest in music or liturgy of the Tudor period.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "William Byrd: Masses for 3, 4 and 5 voices": William Byrd: Masses for 3, 4 and 5 voices facsimile edition, published by DIAMM, 2012

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Manuscript book description compiled by the publisher.
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William Byrd: Masses for 3, 4 and 5 voices

London: DIAMM, 2012

  • Commentary (English) by Milsom, John
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, William Byrd: Masses for 3, 4 and 5 voices: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

5 partbooks: 32, 24, 32, 24, 32 pp. respectively, packed in a lightweight slipcase and including introduction and select bibliography.


Limp bound.

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