The pavan is a ‘16-bar’ work, its six sections running to 96 semibreves. It is easy to hear how Byrd divides each of his 16-bar phrases in half, introducing a new theme (or a new version of an existing one) to renew the musical discourse. His long phrases are usually a sort of dialogue, not simply in his normal stretto counterpoint but also presenting two complementary and compatible ideas, each of which stirs up the other. As always, the melodies at the start are much more restrained and meditative than those in the closing sections. In a rather modern touch, Byrd seems to rely here on the contrast between the tonic minor (D) found in the first and third strains and the relative major (F), used for the whole middle strain. The lively galliard serves as an ideal foil to this careful and introspective composition, its rich chordal harmonies at the start giving way to lighter imitative textures. The three strains start on chords of D major, G major and F major, an unexpected scheme for a work in D minor. This pair probably dates from about 1590.
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999