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A Galliarde Gygge, BK18

Nevell (No 7). [Neighbour, p 170]

This curious piece in galliard rhythm is clearly an early work, probably from the 1560s, and has little of the jig about it. It starts as if it were a short ‘4-bar’ galliard, each phrase being followed by its varied repeat. Such galliards are rare but not unknown in Byrd: one such is the G major galliard, BK87, and the last strain of the G minor galliard, BK4 is also built on repeated 4-bar sections. But by the end of the third phrase (and its varied repetition) of the Galliarde Gygge, when a normal galliard should be finished, the music has not yet reached the home key of A minor, being still in C. Byrd repeats the second phrase, thereby bringing the music home after 32 rather than 24 bars. The ‘galliard’, despite being unusual, thus follows the principles outlined by Morley for always composing galliards in multiples of four bars. However, the most unusual aspect of the work is that Byrd subjects these first 32 bars, his ‘galliard’ with four strains, to a further complete variation, as in several of his almans, turning the work into a kind of germinating ground, based on a 32-bar scheme. No doubt Byrd could have gone on improvising many other variations in the same vein. The work is similar in structure, rhythm and mood to the Qui passe, for my Ladye Nevell (BK19), built on a repeating Italian bass, where a rather more complex 40-bar scheme is subjected to not one but two complete variations.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

Cette pièce curieuse en rythme de gaillarde est visiblement une œuvre de jeunesse, datant sans doute des années 1560. Elle ne ressemble pas vraiment à une Jig. Au début, le style est plutôt celui d’une gaillarde courte, “à quatre”, et chaque strophe est suivie d’une reprise variée. De telles gaillardes courtes ne sont pas inconnues dans l’œuvre de Byrd : voir, par exemple, celle en sol majeur, BK87, ainsi que les dernières strophes de celle en sol mineur (BK4), également construites sur des phrases “à quatre”. Mais dans la Galliarde Gygge, à la fin de la troisième strophe (et de sa reprise variée), là où une gaillarde normale devrait toucher à sa fin, la musique n’a pas retrouvé la tonalité initiale de la mineur, étant toujours en ut majeur. Byrd reprend donc la deuxième strophe à nouveau, et la forme est close après trente-deux mesures plutôt que vingt-quatre. La “gaillarde” suit donc les principes énoncés par Morley, en n’utilisant que des multiples de quatre mesures. Maintenant Byrd reprend ces quatre strophes et ajoute une nouvelle variation complète. L’œuvre commence ainsi à devenir comme un ground construit sur une longue basse de trente-deux mesures. Sans doute Byrd aurait pu continuer à improviser d’autres variations de la sorte. En structure, rythme et caractère, l’œuvre ressemble un peu à Qui passe, for my Ladye Nevell (BK19), construite sur une basse italienne obstinée, avec un schéma plus complexe de quarante mesures et deux variations complètes.

extrait des notes rédigées par Davitt Moroney © 1999


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


Track 23 on CDS44461/7 CD5 [2'03] 7CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDS44461/7 disc 5 track 23

Recording date
18 December 1996
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 23
    Release date: September 1999
    Deletion date: July 2010
    7CDs Superseded by CDS44461/7
  2. Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music (CDS44461/7)
    Disc 5 Track 23
    Release date: September 2010
    Deletion date: October 2018
    7CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
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