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Track(s) taken from CDS44461/7

All in a garden greene, BK56

Nevell (No 32), FVB (No 104). [Neighbour, p 154]

Davitt Moroney (harpsichord)
Recording details: December 1996
Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, France
Produced by John Hayward-Warburton
Engineered by Ken Blair
Release date: September 1999
Total duration: 4 minutes 52 seconds

Cover artwork: Phoenix. A glass window specially designed, made and photographed by Malcolm Crowthers.

The melody of these six variations, which probably date from the 1570s, is not known elsewhere, although it must have been a popular Elizabethan tune. Byrd’s setting deserves to be better known (and is one of his few sets of variations that could work effectively on the organ). The nostalgic nature of the highly melodic writing is never interrupted. Rather than transforming the melodic basis into faster and faster notes, here Byrd keeps the slow notes of the melody as a constant counterpoint to more rapid fingerwork, creating a curious sensation of two levels, two speeds. The descant added in the last variation is particularly fine.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

La mélodie utilisée pour ces six variations, qui datent probablement des années 1570, n’est pas connue ailleurs mais elle était sans doute populaire à l’époque. Cette œuvre mérite d’être mieux appréciée (et c’est l’une des compositions de Byrd qui réussit bien à l’orgue). Le caractère nostalgique de l’écriture mélodique n’est jamais interrompu. Plutôt que de transformer la chanson en passages de plus en plus rapides, le compositeur maintient la mélodie en notes longues, en contrepoint aux figurations ornementales qui l’entourent, ce qui donne une curieuse sensation de musique à deux vitesses, à deux niveaux. Le déchant ajouté dans la dernière variation est particulièrement intéressant.

extrait des notes rédigées par Davitt Moroney © 1999

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