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Fantasia, BK13
Tomkins (No 8), FVB (No 52). [Neighbour, p 235]

'Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music' (CDS44461/7)
Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music
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'Byrd: Keyboard Music' (CDA66558)
Byrd: Keyboard Music
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Track 10 on CDA66558 [8'05] Deleted

Fantasia, BK13
It is hard for us to imagine how listeners in the 1560s must have reacted to the astonishing originality and verve found in this fantasia. No work like it is known among the repertoire of the period, by any composer, in any country. This is often one of the first Byrd works that modern musicians play, and it remains a favourite in concert programmes. It may be noted that at bar 82 it incorporates an identifiable popular tune (whose name, unfortunately is not known). It occurs in the manuscript BL Add. 60577, copied no later than 1563 (see Musica Britannica volume LXVI, No 54).

What an extraordinary span there is from the early Miserere, or this brilliant youthful fancy, to the D minor fancy (BK46); from the C minor pavan BK29a, ‘the first that ever hee made’, to the playfully polyphonic concision of the Eccho pavan and galliard (BK114); from the Gypseis Round (BK80) to the entirely new keyboard textures of the O mistress mine, I must variations (BK83); and from the irrepressible Horne Pipe to the quite different mastery of length in the unique Quadran pavan and galliard (BK70a)!

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

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