Byrd Celebration: Pomerium

Sat, 21 Oct 2023 8:00 pm


Songs, Hymns, and Psalms by William Byrd

Alexander Blachly ~ director

Byrd’s choral music reveals a series of compositional phases, though not ones as differentiated as those we associate with Du Fay or Stravinsky. Many of his early sacred works are based on Gregorian chant. As a young composer Byrd also liked to display his technical prowess in challenging canons such as we hear in the third stanza of the hymn O lux beata Trinitas. Byrd’s middle and late periods both focus on extending phrases through contrapuntal skill, and both contain many somber, contemplative works. Byrd’s music in the two volumes of Gradualia (1605 and 1607) reveal his late style. Here, he focuses on the beauty of pure, serene counterpoint, with motives that emphasize the declamation of specific words or phrases which he then skillfully weaves into a fabric of asymmetrical imitative polyphony. Pomerium’s program traces Byrd’s compositional trajectory, including works from all but one of his self-published printed collections in chronological order, plus two works that survive only in manuscript copies.

Saturday, October 21 at 8:00 PM

$30 General Admission
$20 Seniors (65+)
$5 Students (ID required)

Saint Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church
Enter on West 87th Street between Broadway and West End Avenue, Manhattan

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GEMS is a non-profit corporation that supports and promotes the artists and organizations in New York devoted to early music — playing repertoire from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical periods.