Mary Brownlo (or Brownlow; born in about 1591) was the daughter of a successful lawyer, Richard Brownlow. She was married in November 1613, but the piece was published in Parthenia
, at about the same time. Since she lived in London, the work provides evidence for Byrd’s continuing contacts with the capital at the end of his life. Her Galiardo
is a vigorous and quite difficult piece, in the more modern style of galliard (with a slower basic rhythm and more semiquaver movement). This is probably among the last keyboard works that Byrd wrote, and may even date from when he was about seventy. Walker Cunningham has convincingly shown that many details in this unusual galliard are probably a response to Bull’s The Prince’s Galliard
, written in the same original style; it would thus appear to be another case of ‘friendly emulation’.
These two pieces in C major (Ionian mode) are found together in the authoritative printed souce Parthenia, although the prelude also survives independently in the FVB (as well as in two other manuscripts where it is erroneously attributed to John Bull).
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999