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BYRD GRADUALIA

8

Votive Masses of the Virgin Mary: Advent, Christmastide, Lent, Eastertime, after Pentecost

Votive Masses of the Blessed Sacrament: Lent, Eastertide, per annum

Each set includes the full complement of proper items: the introit, the graduaL al leluia, tract and/or sequence, the offertory, and the communion. The prevailing tonal ity, and (with a minor exception at Christmas) the set of vocal ranges, remains the same within any given day. The music (again, with a few minor exceptions) does not draw on the pre-existing chant settings, or on other set themes, though there is a subtle the matic unity running through each Mass. Every day has a distinctive flavor of its own, created by the intersection of its unique set of texts and Byrd's musical response to them.

Polyphonic Mass propers are relatively rare in the history of music.9 The main rea son is of course a practical one. The five movements of the ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus/Benedictus, and Agnus Dei) are fixed and suitable for almost any litur gicaloccasion. The proper is usually specific to one day in the calendar, which makes it a luxury item both for musicians and for their patrons. It is telling that even Josquin composed few. Systematic proper settings, where they do occur, tend to coincide with an environment of special care and concern for liturgical propriety, beyond the all-pur pose splendor provided by ornate settings of the Mass ordinary. The English Catholic community in Byrd's day, despite all hardship, was such an environment.

The Office music in Gradualia is of two types. There is a cycle of antiphons for major feasts, running parallel with the cycle of Mass propers; it is reminiscent, on a much smaller scale, of the dazzling repertoire cultivated for the sung Office at the Chapel Royal under Queen Mary. These feast-day antiphons are listed in Table 2.

Title

Feast

Hodie Christus natus est o admirabile commercium

Christmas Circumcision

Table 2: the annual Office

cycle of Gradualia

Senex puerum portabat Hodie beata Virgo Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia Vespere autem sabbati

  • o

    Rex gloriae

Non vos relinquum

  • o

    quam suavis

Ego sum panis vivus

  • o

    sacrum convivium

Tu es Pastor ovium

Quodcunque ligaveris

Hodie Simon Petrus

Candlemas Candlemas Easter Eve Easter Eve Ascension Pentecost Corpus Christi Corpus Christi Corpus Christi Peter & Paul; P ad Vincula Peter & Paul; P ad Vincula Peter & Paul

Antiphon to

Book

Magnificat, 2nd Vespers First psalm, Vespers/Lauds Magnificat, 1st Vespers Magnificat, 2nd Vespers Psalm, Vespers Magnificat, Vespers

Magnificat, 2nd

Vespers

Magnificat, 1st

Vespers

Magnificat, 1st

Vespers

Benedictus, Lauds Magnificat, 2nd Vespers Magnificat, 1st Vespers

2

2 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 2

Benedictus, Lauds

2

Magnificat, 2nd Vespers

2

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