Hyperion Records

Salvator mundi II, BK69
Weelkes (Nos 22, 23). [Neighbour, p 107]

'Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music' (CDS44461/7)
Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music
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Track 19 on CDS44461/7 CD3 [1'25] 7CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Salvator mundi II, BK69
The Sarum plainsong hymn Salvator mundi domine / Qui nos salvasti hodie; / In hac nocte nos protege, / Et salva omni tempore (‘Lord, Saviour of the world, / Who today saves us; / protect us this night / and save us for all time’) was, as its text indicates, liturgically associated with Christmas Eve and the evening service of Compline. The melody is almost identical to the Roman chant Veni creator spiritus. Byrd’s two works on Salvator mundi both use cantus firmus technique. They were clearly written as a pair and are both very early works, perhaps dating from the 1550s.

The first setting starts off in two voices, and adds just one part in running quavers below the right hand’s plainsong semibreves; a third voice joins in as the music breaks into triple rhythms. This piece contains a 3-bar quotation (bars 42 to 44) from a Gloria tibi trinitas setting by one of the Chapel royal organists, John Blitheman. Even though Byrd chose not to follow his path stylistically as a composer, they were later to become colleagues for twenty years and presumably had a good professional relationship.

The second setting, in three voices, places the chant an octave lower (where it has to be played mostly by the thumb of the left hand). The quaver counterpoint is above, now, and a new one in minims is added, below. These soon change places, the minims give way to crotchets, the rhythm speeds up, and finally hints of a fourth voice are heard as the music heads for its cadence with considerable assurance.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDS44461/7 disc 3 track 19
Recording date
8 September 1991
Recording venue
Église-Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, France
Recording producer
Nicholas Parker
Recording engineer
Mike Hatch
Hyperion usage
  1. Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music (CDA66551/7)
    Disc 3 Track 19
    Release date: September 1999
    Deletion date: July 2010
    7CDs Superseded by CDS44461/7
  2. Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music (CDS44461/7)
    Disc 3 Track 19
    Release date: September 2010
    7CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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