On Sunday 9th July St. Mary’s choir will be singing William Byrd’s well know motet ‘Ave Verum Corpus’
Byrd died on the 4th July 1623 so we celebrate his 400th anniversary.
He is considered to be England’s most important Renaissance composer.
Thought to have been born about 1540, little is known about his childhood although he was born into a wealthy and musical family. His first professional employment was as ‘Organist & Master of the Choristers’ at Lincoln Cathedral. Later he was appointed ‘Gentleman of the Chapel Royal’ a post of considerable significance, where his talents were highly favoured by Queen Elizabeth I.
Although he wrote music for the Anglican Church, he made little secret of his continuing Catholic faith, something which was largely tolerated in view of the high regard in which he stood.
He has left us about 470 compositions for instrumental ensembles, keyboard, and choral music.
Listen to a performance of ‘Ave Verum Corpus’ here: