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La Volta L. Morley, BK90
FVB (No 159). [Neighbour, p 170]

'Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music' (CDS44461/7)
Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music
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Track 12 on CDS44461/7 CD5 [1'28] 7CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

La Volta L. Morley, BK90
It is not known whether this piece is for Lord or Lady Morley. The first wife of Edward Parker, the twelfth Lord Morley, was Elizabeth, Lady Monteagle, who died in 1585. Byrd wrote Lady Montegle’s Paven for Lady Morley (BK75). If this volta had been intended for her, it would more likely have carried her name, as does her pavan. Lord Morley himself died in 1618 so the piece could possibly have been for him. In either case, the work has no connection to Byrd’s pupil, the composer Thomas Morley. Byrd dedicated numerous pieces to lords: the pavans and galliards for Sir William Petre (BK3) and the Earl of Salisbury (BK15), and a pavan and galliard in F major for Sir Charles Somerset (now lost, but mentioned by Tomkins). The known pieces written for eminent women patrons are the four that carry Lady Nevell’s name, Lady Montegle’s Paven, and of course The Queenes Alman.

The tune used here was already known in England and on the Continent. As usual, each of the two phrases carries its own varied repeat (during which Byrd here does not even liven up the rather bald Italianate chordal accompaniment); however, when the whole structure is repeated in a full variation, the writing becomes considerably freer and more imitative, bearing the clear stamp of the composer’s personality.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

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