William Byrd was a gifted music composer of the Renaissance period. Read on to know more about his childhood, life and timeline in this biography.
Famous as: Music composer
Born on: 19 March 1904
Zodiac Sign: Pisces Famous Pisceans
Born in: Lincoln
Died on: 04 July 1623
place of death: Stondon Massey
father: Thomas Byrd
siblings: Symond John, Alice Barbara, Mary, Martha
Works & Achievements: Psalms, Sonnets, Songs and Viol consort works for Anglican services
A renowned Shakespearean composer, William Byrd was a talented musician of his time and cohort. He added some great works to his credit and primarily dominated the musical scene of Renaissance period in Old England. He was known as a versatile composer with a strong foundation in almost all genres and was, by far, the greatest English composer known at the time. He outshone most of the other composers he worked with such as Lassus and Giovanni and established himself as a dignified composer in the courts of royalty. Primarily influenced by the romanticism of Renaissance, Byrd came with small and large scale songs, masses, organ, choral and songs backed by religious tones. In a time dominated by largely secular music, Byrd broke all boundaries and leapt into a world of novelty in terms of music. His works then went on to establish and influence other composers in and around England. He believed in combining sacredness with his music and brought out multifarious vocal pieces. He also contributed immensely to the development of Virtuoso styles and early keyboard music, making him a genius of his time. His celebrated works are undoubtedly 'Passing measures Pavan and Galliard, 'Songs of Sundrie Natures' and 'My Ladye Nevells Book'.
Byrd was a reputed musician among all other English musicians of his time. He succeeded in bringing out secular, vocal music, liturgical items and Latin compositions showing his versatility in different genres of music. Despite the many downfalls in his career, his 470 musical compositions spoke for themselves. With his strong religious adherence and a cultivated, refined style of music, Byrd went on to inspire a long line of musician’s right from his time to the contemporary composers of today. Though a lot of his works and history were rarely documented, some of his ardent followers got together to revive and relive the greatest of William Byrd’s music of a lost time and period.
Byrd died on July 4th 1623, in his home in the Standon Massey. After his death, much of his works were dispersed and lost, only to be found by modern musicians. He died wealthy despite the many ups and downs of his musical career.
WILLIAM BYRD TIMELINE
William Byrd was born in Lincoln, England.
Studied under Thomas Tallis.
He was a choir boy in London’s Royal Chapel till the year 1568, where he was also offered a post as an organist.
Married Julian Birley.
Made the ‘Gentleman’ of the Royal Chapel by Queen Elizabeth.
Published his first Latin works called “Sacred Songs”.
Left London and settled in Standon Massey, Essex.
Composed the renowned three masses.
Composed his renowned Gradualia, motets and songs largely influenced by Catholic backgrounds.
Wrote his well-known Psalms, Songs and Sonnets.
Died at his Standon Massey home as a wealthy, established music composer.
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Books About William Byrd
William Byrd II and His Lost History: Engravings of the Americas
On the Sources of Patriarchal Rage: The Commonplace Books of William Byrd and Thomas Jefferson and the Gendering of Power in the Eighteenth Century (History of Emotions)
Bird-Boogie. For harpsichord (piano),etc.[Based upon William Byrd's ' Battell ' .]