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Track(s) taken from CDS44461/7

Pavan and Galliard 'Bray', BK59

FVB (Nos 91, 92). [Neighbour, ‘Pavan & Galliard F1’ p 203]

Davitt Moroney (harpsichord)
Recording details: February 1997
Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, France
Produced by John Hayward-Warburton
Engineered by Ken Blair
Release date: September 1999
Total duration: 6 minutes 15 seconds

Cover artwork: Phoenix. A glass window specially designed, made and photographed by Malcolm Crowthers.

The title is perhaps linked with the Jesuit priest William Bray or a member of his family. The work was already in circulation by 1596, arranged for orpharion, but its style suggests that the original keyboard version is earlier, possibly from the 1580s. The works have traditionally been overshadowed by Byrd’s other F major pavan and galliard pair (‘Ph. Tr’, BK60). While perhaps not showing the maturer mastery of those pieces, the present pair is nevertheless highly refined. Here is another ‘16-bar’ pavan, with six sections running to 96 semibreves. The three strains start on F major, B flat major and F major, thereby emphasising that the music is not in the traditional F mode (Lydian) but rather in the transposed Ionian. The scheme is less harmonically varied than is usual, but this is deliberate since Byrd takes it one step further in the galliard by beginning all three strains (and therefore their varied repeats as well) on chords of F major, a unique case in his works. His interest here is not, therefore, in constructing a subtle harmonic scheme; rather he works on unusually long melodic lines in the pavan, contrasted with particularly short ones in the galliard, offset by lively cross-rhythms. Unusually for Byrd, there are melodic links in the material of the pavan and galliard (that are more visible on the page than audible), notably the use of the scale of a fourth, rising or falling, throughout all sections of both pieces. The FVB gives the only complete version, although another fragmentary source has recently been found.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

Le titre se refère peut-être au jésuite William Bray ou à un membre de sa famille. L’œuvre circulait déjà en 1596, dans un arrangement pour orpharion, mais son style indique que la version originale pour clavier doit dater des années 1580. Cette paire est un peu dans l’ombre de l’autre diptyque de Byrd en fa majeur (“Ph. Tr”, BK60). Si la paire “Bray” ne montre pas toute la maîtrise de maturité des BK60, elle est néanmoins très raffinée. La pavane est “à seize”, ayant six sections et quatre-vingt-seize semi-brèves. Les trois strophes commencent sur les accords de fa majeur, si bémol majeur et fa majeur, soulignant ainsi que la pièce n’est pas composée dans le mode lydien traditionnellement associé à la tonalité de fa, mais plutôt en mode ionien, transposé. Le schéma harmonique est moins varié que d’habitude, mais par choix, car Byrd va encore plus loin dans ce sens dans la gaillarde, dont les trois strophes (ainsi que leurs reprises variées) commencent sur l’accord de fa majeur, un cas unique dans son œuvre. Son intérêt ici, donc, n’est pas de bâtir une construction harmonique subtile ; il préfère plutôt utiliser des phrases mélodiques exceptionnellement longues dans la pavane et, par un effet de contraste, très courtes dans la gaillarde ; il emploie aussi de vigoureuses syncopes rythmiques. Il y a quelques petits liens entre le matériel de la pavane et de la gaillarde, rares chez Byrd (et qui sont plus visibles qu’audibles), notamment l’utilisation de la gamme d’une quarte, qui monte et qui descend partout dans les deux pièces. Le FVB préserve la seule version complète (mais une autre source fragmentaire a été découverte récemment).

extrait des notes rédigées par Davitt Moroney © 1999

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