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Hyperion Records

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Phoenix. A glass window specially designed, made and photographed by Malcolm Crowthers.
Track(s) taken from CDS44461/7
Recording details: September 1991
Église-Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, France
Produced by Nicholas Parker
Engineered by Mike Hatch
Release date: September 1999
Total duration: 1 minutes 25 seconds

Salvator mundi II, BK69
Weelkes (Nos 22, 23). [Neighbour, p 107]

Introduction  EnglishFrançais
The Sarum plainsong hymn Salvator mundi domine / Qui nos salvasti hodie; / In hac nocte nos protege, / Et salva omni tempore (‘Lord, Saviour of the world, / Who today saves us; / protect us this night / and save us for all time’) was, as its text indicates, liturgically associated with Christmas Eve and the evening service of Compline. The melody is almost identical to the Roman chant Veni creator spiritus. Byrd’s two works on Salvator mundi both use cantus firmus technique. They were clearly written as a pair and are both very early works, perhaps dating from the 1550s.

The first setting starts off in two voices, and adds just one part in running quavers below the right hand’s plainsong semibreves; a third voice joins in as the music breaks into triple rhythms. This piece contains a 3-bar quotation (bars 42 to 44) from a Gloria tibi trinitas setting by one of the Chapel royal organists, John Blitheman. Even though Byrd chose not to follow his path stylistically as a composer, they were later to become colleagues for twenty years and presumably had a good professional relationship.

The second setting, in three voices, places the chant an octave lower (where it has to be played mostly by the thumb of the left hand). The quaver counterpoint is above, now, and a new one in minims is added, below. These soon change places, the minims give way to crotchets, the rhythm speeds up, and finally hints of a fourth voice are heard as the music heads for its cadence with considerable assurance.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

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