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|Davitt Moroney (muselar)|
Sir Robert Cecil was born in about 1563 and died on 24 May 1612. He was knighted in 1591 by Queen Elizabeth and created Earl of Salisbury in 1605 by James I. (Elizabeth called him her ‘little elf’; James called him his ‘little beagle’.) Morley dedicated his First Booke of Balletts (1595) to him, as did Robert Jones his First set of Madrigals (1609) and Dowland his translation of Ornithoparcus’s Micrologus.
These three works by Byrd and Orlando Gibbons’s equally famous The Lord of Salisbury, his Pavin and its accompanying Galiardo (both also in A-minor Aeolian mode) were published in Parthenia (1612/13) a few months after Cecil’s death. The works may have been written close to that year, and would thus date from the end of Byrd’s life, when he was about seventy. The pavan in particular has been popular even as a piano piece from the middle of the nineteenth century up until Glenn Gould. Its popularity was also helped by a sensitive arrangement for strings in Sir John Barbirolli’s Elizabethan Suite.
Surprisingly for such a serious work, this is only an ‘8-bar’ pavan. Even more unusually, it and the first galliard have only two strains rather than the normal three. Most strange of all, for these three works Byrd did not provide the varied repeats found with all his other pavans and galliards. The pavan runs to a total of only 16 semibreves in all (although if one adds the repeats this becomes 32). Since the works were published in London during his lifetime, I have refrained from adding too much elaborate variation in the repeats since the composer presumably did not wish it here.
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999
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