This youthful work in C major was possibly inspired by Hugh Aston’s excellent Hornepype
(c1530), and probably dates from the late 1560s. At the start Byrd puts on the brakes, wilfully holding back the energy so that the piece almost seems to have difficulty getting off the ground. But his apparently slow starts are always deliberate, a compositional ploy designed to set off the intensity that follows. When he does at last release the energy the work takes flight rapidly, with all the force of pent-up vigour and good humour. In Neighbour
’s words, this Horne Pipe
‘keeps breaking into dance rhythms of unquenchable gaiety’.
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999