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Gypseis Round, BK80

FVB (No 216). [Neighbour, p 147]

It is hard not to hear this early work (probably dating from about 1570) as a trial run for Byrd’s other ‘Round’, Sellinger’s Rownde (BK84), which is based on a similar 20-bar tune and in the same Mixolydian G major. Gypseis Round must have been a popular Elizabethan tune, although it is not known elsewhere and appears not to have had any words for singing associated with it. Perhaps it was simply a gypsy dance. Here there are only seven variations instead of the nine in Sellingers’ Rownde, and one is left with the feeling that perhaps the order of the variations as the piece survives in the FVB may not be quite right. Neighbour even suggests that the work might be incomplete and sees it as being ‘weakened by too narrow a range of vocabulary’. Indeed, something seems not quite right in Variation 6 which has four bars more than any other; and most of Variation 3 sounds at least as final as most of Variation 7, as if perhaps the FVB text of this piece is as muddled as is its text of The Bells. However, the force and good humour of this youthful work, as well as its splendidly energetic way of jumping around the keyboard, manage to keep such doubts in check. Although side-by-side comparison with Sellinger’s Rownde certainly immediately shows up the finer qualities of that work, Gypseis Round remains highly satisfying to play and agreeable to listen to.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

Il est difficile de ne pas entendre cette pièce de jeunesse (qui date probablement des années 1570) comme une première tentative qui annonce l’autre “ronde”, Sellinger’s Rownde (BK84), d’une plus grande réussite. Les deux pièces sont basées sur une chanson de vingt mesures, en mode mixolydien (sol majeur). Gypseis Round a dû être une chanson populaire à l’époque élisabéthaine, mais elle n’est pas connue ailleurs ; aucun texte n’est connu. Peut-être était-ce simplement une danse de gitans. Ici, il n’y a que sept variations, au lieu des neuf de Sellingers’ Rownde, et on a l’impression que l’ordre des variations — dans l’unique source, le FVB — pourrait être erroné. Neighbour va jusqu’à se demander si la pièce ne serait pas incomplète et la voit comme “souffrant d’un vocabulaire trop limité”. En effet, il y a un problème à la variation 6 qui, par rapport aux autres, comporte quatre mesures de trop. Et la variation 3 aurait pu terminer la pièce autant que la variation 7, comme si le texte dans le FVB était dans le désordre (comme il l’est visiblement pour The Bells). Il en reste néanmoins que la force et la bonne humeur de cette composition, ainsi que sa sympathique façon énergique de bondir sur tout le clavier, diminuent la portée de ces critiques. Si l’on compare, mesure par mesure, Gypseis Round et Sellinger’s Rownde, il devient évident que cette dernière est plus réussie ; mais Gypseis Round demeure délicieusement satisfaisante à jouer et agréable à écouter.

extrait des notes rédigées par Davitt Moroney © 1999


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


Track 15 on CDS44461/7 CD5 [4'43] 7CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDS44461/7 disc 5 track 15

Recording date
14 February 1997
Recording venue
Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, France
Recording producer
John Hayward-Warburton
Recording engineer
Ken Blair
Hyperion usage
  1. Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music (CDA66551/7)
    Disc 5 Track 15
    Release date: September 1999
    Deletion date: July 2010
    7CDs Superseded by CDS44461/7
  2. Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music (CDS44461/7)
    Disc 5 Track 15
    Release date: September 2010
    Deletion date: October 2018
    7CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
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