This little fancy (despite its name ‘Verse’) is a brilliant and playful piece in the C major Ionian mode. It was probably composed quite early in Byrd’s career, by the mid-1560s. The 2-part writing is typical of much organ music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The harmonies are amply filled in by the resonance in a large building. Nevertheless, this piece could possibly have originated as a consort bicinium (despite the brief addition of a third voice at the very end). The same style was later used by Giles Farnaby’s son Richard in his rather similar C major Duo
, no. 238), and by Sweelinck in his G minor fantasia.
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999