The anonymous F major prelude was identified in 1973 as Byrd’s work by Oliver Neighbour, who noted its musical links with the Pavana
‘Ph. Tr.’ (the same key, an identical harmonic scheme at the start, and the link with the galliard in Forster
where they occur as numbers 20 and 21, etc.). It has been suggested that the mysterious annotation ‘Ph. Tr.’ attached to the pavan in the FVB
(only) might be a reference to Philippa Tregian, the sister of Francis Tregian who was for many years supposed to have copied the manuscript; this hypothesis has now been convincingly discounted by Ruby Reid Thompson. More important, this pavan and galliard pair seems to be related to a popular pair in the same key by his pupil, Thomas Morley. Not surprisingly, the master’s version appears to constitute a reworking of his pupil’s work, although Byrd was not concerned with scoring points. Yet another ‘friendly emulation’...
The exceptionally rich musical material of his pavan is subjected to numerous hidden imitations (in the first strain), augmentations in the bass (in the second and third strains), and lively countersubjects throughout. It is a ‘16-bar’ pavan, its six sections running to 96 semibreves. Byrd is here not working in the traditional F mode (Lydian), which had no B flats and was harmonically ungainly and structurally unstable; the strong insistence on the chord of B flat major confirms his use of the Ionian mode, transposed down a fifth. The result appears tonally rather more forward-looking since the Ionian mode is so close to the modern major scale. The lively and playful galliard perfectly complements the pavan. Both pieces probably date from about 1600.
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999