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A Grounde, BK86

Forster (No 1). [Neighbour, ‘Short Ground in G major’, p 120]

This is the third of Byrd’s three ‘short’ grounds, based on a little 4-bar repeating bass pattern (the other two are BK9 and BK43). The notes of the ground are here heard alone at the start, in conformity with Thomas Mace’s later description of grounds: ‘a set Number of Slow Notes, very Grave, and Stately’ that are first ‘express’d Once, or Twice, very Plainly.’ Tomkins included this G major ground on both his lists of Lessons of worthe, referring to it as both ‘a grownd of mr Byrdes’ and his ‘old grownd’. It is, indeed, clearly an early composition, probably dating from the 1560s, as do the two other ‘short’ grounds.

The music gently develops its minim-and-crotchet discourse as the keyboard range expands over a 40-bar paragraph (ten statements of the 4-bar bass). Trills then start taking over the texture. By the time they have had their say (four bass statements later), melodic discourse in quaver movement re-emerges and carries the music through another big paragraph (again, ten bass statements). Then a dancing jig breaks out (developed over a further eleven statements of the bass pattern). The work closes with a fine 10-bar phrase (a double statement of the bass followed by a 2-bar flourish as a coda). The calm of the opening phrases returns, although Byrd now places the music in the highest and brightest range of the keyboard, as though the experience of the whole piece has transformed the original material.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

Voici le dernier des trois grounds de Byrd basés sur un motif court à la basse, de seulement quatre mesures ; les deux autres sont BK9 et BK43. Les notes du ground sont présentées seules au début, conformément à la description de Thomas Mace de la forme d’un ground, qui doit commencer par “un Nombre fixe de Notes Lentes, très Graves, et Solennelles... joué (Une ou Deux fois, très Simplement)”. Tomkins a mis ce ground en sol majeur dans ses deux listes de Lessons of worthe, l’appelant à la fois “un ground de Mr Byrd” et “son vieux ground”. En effet, c’est certainement une composition de jeunesse, datant sans doute des années 1560, comme les autres grounds construits sur une basse courte.

La musique se développe tranquillement, par un discours en blanches et noires, en explorant toute l’étendue du clavier sur un grand paragraphe de quarante mesures (dix énoncés de la basse). Des trilles prennent la relève. Ensuite (quatre énoncés plus tard), un discours plus mélodique émerge et porte la musique pendant un autre long paragraphe (à nouveau, dix énoncés de la basse). Un rythme de gigue se fait entendre (développé sur onze répétitions de la basse) et le ground se termine par une belle phrase de dix mesures (un double énoncé de la basse, avec une petite coda). Le calme du début revient, mais Byrd place la musique dans la partie la plus haute de l’instrument. Ainsi on s’aperçoit que l’expérience vécue pendant la pièce a transformé le matériel musical.

extrait des notes rédigées par Davitt Moroney © 1999


Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music
CDS44461/77CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service


Track 9 on CDS44461/7 CD4 [5'49] 7CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDS44461/7 disc 4 track 9

Recording date
31 March 1992
Recording venue
Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Edward Kershaw
Recording engineer
Mike Hatch
Hyperion usage
  1. Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music (CDA66551/7)
    Disc 4 Track 9
    Release date: September 1999
    Deletion date: July 2010
    7CDs Superseded by CDS44461/7
  2. Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music (CDS44461/7)
    Disc 4 Track 9
    Release date: September 2010
    Deletion date: October 2018
    7CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
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