The Psalm setting Teach me, O Lord most probably dates from Byrd’s Lincoln career. It was apparently not designed as an anthem, but as a truly liturgical piece, a festal Psalm to be sung after the Preces; it was popular enough to have found its way (usually as an anthem) into several sources. The piece might almost have been written to exemplify the Royal Injunction that required ‘a modest distinct song, so used in all parts of the common prayers in the church, that the same may be as plainly understood, as if it were read without singing’—though, as Peter Phillips has pointed out, this fundamentally misunderstands the effect of choral singing on text. Nevertheless there is a new intimacy, even compared to Sheppard’s Second Service, between text and music; this is partly due to the verse idiom, in which a soloist alternates with the full choir. A modern listener used to hearing Evensong cannot help noticing the similarity of the full sections, with their regular cadential formulae, to Anglican chant.
from notes by Robert Quinney © 2008