There are some miscellaneous pieces in the Gradualia
collections. It is possible that these were to be used during recusant services but it is perhaps more likely that they belong in the realm of spiritual entertainments for the home. Venite, exsultemus Domino
and Laudate Dominum
(both published in 1607) are settings of Psalm 94: 1–2 and the whole of Psalm 116 respectively. Byrd has not provided settings of the doxology to either piece but has added an affirmatory Alleluia and Amen to Venite, exsultemus Domino
. Both pieces show Byrd flexing his considerable musical and intellectual muscle. Instrumental in concept, they rely on close imitation and vocal dexterity, indeed the writing in Venite, exsultemus
is sometimes more reminiscent of the development section of a Classical symphony, with melodic cells thrown from one voice to another as the drama of the piece develops.
from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2010