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A Voluntarie, for my Ladye Nevell, BK61
Nevell (No 26). [Neighbour, ‘Fantasia G1’ p 253]

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Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music
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A Voluntarie, for my Ladye Nevell, BK61
The voluntary played here, being in Nevell, must predate 1591, but only just. The manuscript’s table of contents calls it the voluntarie lesson. It opens with a short prelude that, in the most literal sense, sets the tone (Mixolydian G major). The same approach may be heard in another G major fantasia, BK63. The last section develops even further the idea already heard at the ends of Fancies BK46 and 25. In those works the closing idea lasted 7 and 12 semibreves, repectively; now it has become a long paragraph lasting 16 semibreves that comes to a climax in driving syncopated rhythms that recall the last section of BK46; once again, the whole paragraph is repeated with newly invented figuration, bringing the work to a flourishing close.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

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