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Track(s) taken from CDS44461/7

Fantasia, BK62

Weelkes (No 66), FVB (No 261). [Neighbour, ‘Fantasia G2’ p 232]

Davitt Moroney (harpsichord)
Recording details: March 1992
Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex, United Kingdom
Produced by Edward Kershaw
Engineered by Mike Hatch
Release date: September 1999
Total duration: 7 minutes 19 seconds

Cover artwork: Phoenix. A glass window specially designed, made and photographed by Malcolm Crowthers.
Fantasia BK62  [7'19]

Other recordings available for download

Davitt Moroney (organ)
Thomas Tomkins included this work (‘A Fantasi of Mr Byrdes in gamut’) on one of his lists of Lessons of worthe. On another list of Byrd’s finest keyboard compositions he refers to it as ‘his old Fancy’ and, indeed, its structural features indicate that it probably dates from the 1560s. Weelkes is the best of the four sources. Byrd’s fancy is a perfect example of the traditional English fancy where the composer changes theme when he is ready to move on, arranging contrasted sections and gradually increasing movement throughout the work. It is his most extended work in fantasia form, and the majestic length of the opening point of imitation serves well to prepare the listener for the large scale of the piece. It would no doubt be a misnomer to call this imitative keyboard polyphony the ‘old style’ for when Byrd wrote it (to borrow Anthony Newcomb’s nice phrase) the stilo antico was ‘still young’. This fancy uses the full range of the keyboard in a most brilliant fashion, reserving the lowest note, C, for the very end. It is splendidly sonorous on the organ, but on the harpsichord (and at higher pitch) it has a livelier, if somewhat less noble, character.

Peter Philips wrote an extended Fantasia based on his teacher’s theme (FVB, no. 84), but it follows continental models by being entirely monothematic (even rather doggedly so, with rather earnest diminutions and augmentations of the theme). It was no doubt through Philips that Pieter Cornet got the theme for his own work based on the same melody.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

Thomas Tomkins a inclus cette œuvre dans l’une de ses listes de Lessons of worthe, et dans une autre liste des meilleures pièces de Byrd, il l’appelle “sa vieille fantaisie”. En effet, elle doit dater des années 1560. Weelkes est la meilleure des quatre sources. Cette Fantasia de Byrd est un parfait exemple de la fantaisie anglaise, où le compositeur change de thème quand il le veut, compose des sections bien contrastées et augmente la valeur des notes progressivement pendant la pièce. C’est la plus développée de toutes les fantaisies de Byrd. La longueur sereine du premier “point” d’imitation annonce bien l’envergure de l’œuvre. Ce serait sans doute une erreur de voir ici le stilo antico car, quand Byrd l’a écrite, le vieux style était “encore jeune” (pour reprendre une belle phrase de Anthony Newcomb). Cette fantaisie utilise toute l’étendue du clavier, d’une façon brillante, et réserve la note la plus grave, l’ut, pour la toute fin. Elle est très sonore et noble à l’orgue, mais au clavecin, et à un diapason plus haut, l’effet peut être plus vigoureux.

Peter Philips a composé une longue Fantasia basée sur le thème de son maître (FVB, n° 84). Celle-ci est écrite dans le style continental, étant monothématique (presque trop, avec des augmentations et diminutions rythmiques, démontrées systématiquement et avec beaucoup de zèle). C’est sans doute par Philips que Pieter Cornet a connu ce thème, car il l’utilise aussi dans une pièce d’orgue.

extrait des notes rédigées par Davitt Moroney © 1999

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