Sunday, April 14, 2013

William Byrd - Consort Songs

Image via Wikipedia
Yesterday (and today) was the Renaissance Faire, an excuse for people to dress up in odd costumes and eat turkey legs while watching jousting.  It's pretty goofy, but a lot of fun if your imagination runs that way.

It's tissue-thin "story line" is that it "recreates" early 16th Century renaissance society - without the yucky plague and beheadings of the real thing.  But if we're going to let our imaginations run that way, it behooves us to listen to some actual renaissance music.

William Boyd was one of the most famous English composers of the mid-sixteenth century.  He was born too late for Harry of the many wives but was prolific and influential during the reign of Good Queen Bess.  He developed Consort Music, where "consort" refers not to the many wives of the Monarch but rather a grouping of chamber instruments.  He also wrote considerable church music.

You see, he was not just making a living from selling music to as many as would commission it, but he was a Roman Catholic in an England where that was uncomfortable and even dangerous.  But he avoided the most subversive sort of agitators, and his reputation was such that he died an old and wealthy man.

This is the real music of the middle renaissance.  You're unlikely to find it at your local Ren Faire.  Pity, that.


libertyman said...

Did you go to King Richard's Faire in Massachusetts? I haven't been, but, yeah, here is our idea of what people did 450 years ago. Even though most of the impressions come from Hollywood as to its authenticity with a dash of Monty Python thrown in for spice.

My musical knowledge is enhanced again this Sunday morning. You have introduced me to many artists and composers I would not otherwise know.

Is tuition still payable in fine ales and strong drink?

commoncents said...

SNL Cold Open: "President Obama" spoofs Gun Control

Chickenmom said...

Listening to this while catching up on my reading. Very enjoyable - thanks for posting!

Phyllis (N/W Jersey)

Borepatch said...

Libertyman, we didn't (although I know that JayG enjoys this). And Fine ales are always appreciated!

Old NFO said...

Nice music, and good to listen to!