For these pieces I adopt the readings of Weelkes
, which appears to give a revision of the probably earlier Nevell text. The pavan is again in the minor (but this time the A minor Aeolian mode), and Byrd returns to the ‘16-bar’ format so its six sections run to 96 semibreves. The harmonic rhythm of the pavan is particularly slow at the opening, but speeds up somewhat in the second strain and especially the third strain. The first strain slowly climbs its way to E, only to sink heavily back again. In the second strain, the melody manages to push this up to high G, and then, taking its breath, confirms this long climb up to G again. But all this is preparation for the third strain, which shoots straight up to the A, the highest note on the keyboard, and then spends the rest of the piece gently sinking away from it, and slipping down a full octave. The three strains start on chords of A minor, F major, A major and the galliard’s harmonic course goes through A major, C major and D major, but listing these chords does not begin to indicate the full variety of the rich and unusual harmonies in these two pieces.
from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999