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Paven and Galiard, BK100 EKM10
Weelkes (Nos 58, 59). [Neighbour, p 178]

'Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music' (CDS44461/7)
Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music
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Movement 1: Paven
Track 14 on CDS44461/7 CD7 [1'59] 7CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 2: Galiard
Track 15 on CDS44461/7 CD7 [1'02] 7CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Paven and Galiard, BK100 EKM10
This curious and unsatisfying work is probably not by Byrd, although the composer Thomas Weelkes seems to have thought it was when he copied it into his manuscript in the late 1590s, years when he may have studied with Byrd. It was initially excluded from Musica Britannica, but given the number BK100 in the list of probably spurious pieces. Twenty years later, the Byrd attribution still seemed implausible, although Alan Brown reminded us that Weelkes ‘has no proven false attributions to Byrd’, unless of course this piece turns out to be exactly just such a work.

Neighbour firmly rejects it as a work that Byrd ‘would certainly not have welcomed as his own ... it is difficult to believe that Byrd could have produced this poverty-stricken work at any period.’ Given the very slight doubt that remains, I have included it here. Listeners can now exercise their own critical judgement and decide for themselves. Such an exercise is instructive since it draws attention to many significant features of Byrd’s genuine pavans and galliards, features that shine here by their absence. Since the pavan is a regularly conceived, short, ‘8-bar’ work, with six sections running to 48 semibreves, it may be most fruitfully compared with the ‘short’ C major pavan, BK30a, the fourth in the Nevell sequence.

I can think of no other pavan by Byrd with such unmemorable phrases as those found here, snatches of weak melody that meander around such a limited range of notes. The rhythmic life of the pieces is very dull. It also sticks rigorously and unadventurously to the tonic key: every one of the six sections starts in C major, and four of them end in C. There is a somewhat striking, if not particularly original, harmonic moment in the second strain, but it is needlessly recalled (and in a less convincing manner) in the third strain. As for the galliard, it shares consistently the dubious features noted in the pavan, but has one extra oddity. Most irregularly, each of the three strains has a different number of bars (5, 4 and 6, respectively), a procedure unknown anywhere in Byrd’s works. This makes for a total of thirty bars and goes against Morley’s precise rule – which he surely learned from Byrd himself – of always writing pavans and galliards to come out to a multiple of four bars.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

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