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Every stage of Byrd's career was affected by the political and religious controversies of his day. In such volatile times, the outward practices of worship were often the only touchstone for inward loyalty-and in the new English church, disloyalty to the estab lished religion was also disloyalty to the state. The majority of recalcitrant Catholics were not punished as dissenters per se, but as "recusants," those who "refused" to take part in approved public worship and instead cultivated their own alternatives. The principle of lex orandi, lex credendi-how people worship reflects, even determines, what they believe-was a driving force of the era, and public prayer was, as it had been for centuries in pre-Reformation England, inextricably linked with music-making. By composing music for the Mass and Office on the most important feasts of the year, many of which had been abolished in the Protestant reform of the calendar, Byrd situ ated himself at the center of the debate over religious practice. He also joined in the de fiant self-definition of the recusant community, people who clung to the old feasts and their right to celebrate them as they saw fit.

"Notes as a garland" to crown the year: structure of the Gradualia cycleS

The music in Gradualia falls into four general categories: a) propers for the Mass; b) propers for the Office; c) other ritual items; and d) a small number of freely chosen pieces.

The primary cycle of Mass propers covers twelve principal feasts of the year-the twelve feasts we sang in 2000-and provides, with judicious shuffling, the materials necessary for eight more. In addition to these twenty holidays, Byrd provided music for the seasonal votive Masses of the Virgin Mary, the "Lady Mass" so beloved in the English tradition. He also included the necessary pieces to adapt the Corpus Christi proper into a votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the year. The music for Mass is more or less evenly distributed among the 1605 and 1607 volumes of Gradualia; the cycle is summarized here in Table 1.

Christmas

December 25

4 voices (SSTBY, d

2

Epiphany

January 6

4 voices (SSTB), d

2

Purification

February 2

5 voices (SMATB), d

1

Annunciation

March 25

5 voices (SMATB), d

1

Easter

variable

5 voices (SSATB), d

2

Ascension

40 days after Easter

5 voices (SSATB), C

2

Pentecost

50 days after Easter

5 voices (SSATB), G

2

Corpus Christi

2nd Thurs. after Pentecost

4 voices (SATB), [G]8

1

S.s. Peter & Paul

June 29

6 voices (SSATTB), C

2

[So Peter's Chains]6

[August 1]

[6 voices (SSATTB), C]

2

Assumption

August 15

5 voices (SMATB), d

1

Nativity of Mary

September 8

5 voices (SMATB), d

1

All Saints' Day

November 1

5 voices (SSATB), F

1

Book

Table 1: the Mass propers of Gradualia

Feast

Date

Scoring and mode

Additional Marian feasts provided for, though not named by Byrd: Visitation (July 2); Our Lady of the Snows (August 5); Presentation of Mary (November 21); Conception of Mary (December 8); the octaves of the Assumption and the Nativity; and the vigil of the Assumption.

7

BYRD GRADUALIA

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