William Byrd: An Essential English Composer for Four Centuries

Johnston pointed out that it was not a traditional chapel, but a semi-autonomous corporation of musicians in the service of the monarch. The Royal Chapel also put Byrd in contact with the organist of the time, Thomas Tallis, who became his teacher, mentor, and later collaborator.

After studying with Tallis, Byrd left the college in 1563 and took up the post of organist and choir master. Lincoln Cathedral. Considering the city of Lincoln had a relatively large Catholic population, “it would have been a happy and healthy place for Catholics at the time,” Johnston said. However, the cathedral administration disapproved of Byrd’s organ playing, and in 1569 Byrd’s salary was suspended.

Phillips said, “The complaint was that he played too much when he wasn’t wanted and not at all when he was needed.” Some have described Byrd’s extended organ playing as “pop-ish”.

In 1572, Byrd returned as a gentleman at Chapel Royal and won a large scholarship, which remained his main source of income until his death.

Byrd spent most of his career as a Catholic under the Protestant rule of Elizabeth I, but the situation was more fluid and complicated. Unlike his Catholic contemporaries John Dowland, John Bull, and Richard Delling, Byrd did not flee the country, but instead remained, partly to comply with the state-imposed new Protestantism. selected. And support for Byrd’s burgeoning career came from both England’s existing Catholic powers and the Queen herself.

“I do not want to make windows into people’s souls” was a quote that was regularly quoted during the early years of Elizabeth’s reign. Mr Johnston said, “It was clear that she allowed her subject Catholics to continue to have indemnity of conscience on the substantive religious question of communion.” He said the difference is: religion of the time.

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