The title is perhaps linked with the Jesuit priest William Bray or a member of his family. The work was already in circulation by 1596, arranged for orpharion, but its style suggests that the original keyboard version is earlier, possibly from the 1580s. The works have traditionally been overshadowed by Byrd’s other F major pavan and galliard pair (‘Ph. Tr’, BK60). While perhaps not showing the maturer mastery of those pieces, the present pair is nevertheless highly refined. Here is another ‘16-bar’ pavan, with six sections running to 96 semibreves. The three strains start on F major, B flat major and F major, thereby emphasising that the music is not in the traditional F mode (Lydian) but rather in the transposed Ionian. The scheme is less harmonically varied than is usual, but this is deliberate since Byrd takes it one step further in the galliard by beginning all three strains (and therefore their varied repeats as well) on chords of F major, a unique case in his works. His interest here is not, therefore, in constructing a subtle harmonic scheme; rather he works on unusually long melodic lines in the pavan, contrasted with particularly short ones in the galliard, offset by lively cross-rhythms. Unusually for Byrd, there are melodic links in the material of the pavan and galliard (that are more visible on the page than audible), notably the use of the scale of a fourth, rising or falling, throughout all sections of both pieces. The FVB
gives the only complete version, although another fragmentary source has recently been found.
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999