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The fourth pavian and galliarde, BK30
Nevell (Nos 16, 17), Weelkes (Nos 62, 63). [Neighbour, ‘Pavan & Galliard C1’ p 192]

'Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music' (CDS44461/7)
Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music
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Movement 1: Pavian
Track 9 on CDS44461/7 CD6 [2'50] 7CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 2: Galliarde
Track 10 on CDS44461/7 CD6 [1'49] 7CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

The fourth pavian and galliarde, BK30
For these pieces, I adopt in general the readings of Weelkes, which appears to give a revision of the probably earlier Nevell text. After a long pavan in the minor, this one is in C major (Ionian), and Byrd continues to alternate the kind of structure since this is another short ‘8-bar’ pavan. We can now begin to appreciate Byrd’s grand pavan and galliard sequence in Nevell rather more fully, since he not only alternates long pavans with short ones, he also uses in these first four works four quite different modes: Dorian (C minor); Mixolydian (G major); Aeolian (A minor); Ionian (C major). Normally, as a regular ‘8-bar’ construction, both the pavan and its galliard would have three strains with varied repeats, that is, six 8-bar sections making a total of 48 semibreves for each movement. However, this galliard has four strains, not three, but since the last two are each of only four bars (each repeated), the overall length is the same despite the internal organisation being different. The same procedure may be seen in only one other Byrd galliard (BK4b). The pavan of this C major work starts, most unusually, on the chord of F major. For both pieces the left hand has an unusually high tessitura, giving the works a particularly light and airy sonority which is as much responsible for its contrast with the third and fifth pavans in the Nevell sequence as are the differences of length and minor/major mode. The Nevell copyist, John Baldwin, admiringly ascribed the piece at the end to mr w. birde, homo memorabilis.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

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