The Word Unspoken


William Byrd, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, was a confirmed and practising catholic who worshipped in defiance of the Queen. His status and perhaps even his life was preserved thanks partly to the undeniable mastery of his music, and to the fact that he was careful to maintain an output of music appropriate for a Protestant Rite (simple and English) as well as a Catholic one (florid and Latin).

Byrd was by no means the only major Catholic composer working in England during these years. Furthermore, there were English composers whose faith drove them to work abroad, as well as foreign composers who offered sympathy and encouragement to English catholics. Included in this latter category was the Flemish composer Phillipe De Monte who entered into a fascinating compositional correspondence with Byrd. Verses of Psalm 136 ‘Super Flumina Babylonis’ (containing many allegorical references to the plight of catholics unable to practice their faith openly) were set to music and exchanged, in what is now seen as an encoded message of mutual support and friendship between brothers in faith.

Gallicantus are perfectly placed here to compare the works of William Byrd and Philippe de Monte – The Independent

The singing is beyond exemplary: deeply felt, tenderly phrased, perfectly balanced, with the most profound understanding, seemingly bred in the bone – Choir & Organ

The intensity of the music is reflected in Gallicantus’s beautifully shaped performances – The Sunday Times

In Mark Chambers, Gallicantus boast a countertenor ‘lead’ of near-flawless poise and eloquence – Gramophone

 iTUNES  Spotify

Gabriel Crouch director

RELEASE DATE: 04/06/2012
BARCODE: 635212029527

1. Tristitia et anxietas (from Cantiones Sacrae) William Byrd

2. Vigilate (from Cantiones Sacrae) William Byrd 

3. Tribulationes civitatum (from Cantiones Sacrae) William Byrd

4. Vide, Domine, afflictionem (from Cantiones Sacrae) William Byrd 

5. Ne irascaris (from Cantiones Sacrae) William Byrd 

6. Domine, quid multiplicati sunt (from Motets Book V) Philippe de Monte

7. Miserere mei, Deus (from Motets Book V) Philippe de Monte

8. Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi (from Motets Book V) Philippe de Monte

9. O suavitas et dulcedo Philippe de Monte 

10. Super flumina Babylonis Philippe de Monte 

11. Quomodo cantabimus William Byrd 

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