Byrd: My Ladye Nevells Booke

Byrd: My Ladye Nevells Booke

by Elizabeth Farr
     
 

My Ladye Nevells Booke is a collection of 42 keyboard pieces by William Byrd presented to the titular noblewoman who may have been a student of the composer. The music was for the most part already extant, but Byrd was involved in its selection and compilation, and it is in many ways a fascinating overview of his thinking about the keyboard. Nevertheless,See more details below

Overview

My Ladye Nevells Booke is a collection of 42 keyboard pieces by William Byrd presented to the titular noblewoman who may have been a student of the composer. The music was for the most part already extant, but Byrd was involved in its selection and compilation, and it is in many ways a fascinating overview of his thinking about the keyboard. Nevertheless, recordings of the full cycle, which runs almost four hours in performance, have been sparse; in addition to the complete Byrd keyboard recording by Davitt Moroney there has until now been only a set by veteran British harpsichordist Christopher Hogwood. Thus this top-notch version by American harpsichordist Elizabeth Farr is especially welcome. Farr's style is sober and rich, which tends to match the book's contents -- My Ladye Nevells Booke is inclined toward the solid and ambitious pavans, grounds, and fantasies of Byrd, with only the galliards paired with most of the pavans offering a more sprightly mood. (The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book shows a more festive side of this essentially serious composer.) She does not, however, dampen the one real crowd-pleaser in the collection, the very early piece of program music called "The Battell"; her rendering of Byrd's subtle depiction of the differing gaits of footmen and horses is entertaining. The instruments used are unusual and will be a major attraction of the release for some buyers; they were made by Manchester, MI, builder Keith Hill, and all have a big sound that fits Farr's style perfectly. One is a celebrated Italian instrument from 1658 that Hill restored; two are copies of Flemish instruments from half a century after Byrd's time; and one is the instrument later called a lautenwerk -- a lute-harpsichord, with a much more intimate sound than the other instruments used. The album was recorded in a hall in the small town of Manchester, near Hill's studio, and the ambiance is superb; small details of both playing and instrumental timbre clearly emerge. This will be an important acquisition for libraries, keyboardists, and English music enthusiasts.

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Editorial Reviews

Dallas Morning News - Lawson Taitte
[Grade: A-] Farr...plays this music with a winning lack of fussiness.... A fine, and inexpensive, introduction.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/31/2007
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313013975
Rank:
166077

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. My Lady Nevell's Ground, for keyboard, MB 57  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  2. Qui Passe (Chi passa) for my Lady Nevell, for keyboard, MB 19  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  3. The March before the Battle, or, The Earl of Oxford's March, for keyboard, MB 93  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  4. The Battle, for keyboard, MB 94  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  5. Gaillard for the Victory, for keyboard, MB 95  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  6. The Barley Break, for keyboard, MB 92  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  7. Galliard Jig, for keyboard, MB 18  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  8. The Hunt's Up, or Pescodd's Time, MB 40  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  9. Ut re mi fa sol la, for keyboard in G major, MB 64  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  10. Pavan & Gaillard, for keyboard in C minor No. 1, MB 29  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  11. Pavan & Gaillard, for keyboard in G major No. 2, MB 71  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  12. Pavan & Galliard, for keyboard in A minor, No. 1, MB 14  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  13. Pavan & Gaillard, for keyboard in C major No. 1, MB 30  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  14. Pavan & Gaillard, for keyboard in C minor No. 2, MB 31  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  15. Pavan & Galliard ("Kinbourough Good"), for keyboard in C major, No. 2, MB 32  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  16. Pavan ("Canon 2 in 1"), for keyboard in G major No. 6, MB 74  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  17. Pavan, for keyboard in A minor No. 4, MB 17  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  18. Pavan & Galliard ("Passamezzo"), for keyboard in G minor No. 1, MB 2  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  19. Fantasia (Voluntary for my Lady Neville), for keyboard in G major, MB 61  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  20. The woods so wild, variations for keyboard, MB 85  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  21. The Maiden's Song, variations for keyboard, MB 82  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  22. Fantasia, for keyboard in C major, MB 26  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  23. Ground ("The seconde grownde"), for keyboard in C major, MB 42  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  24. Walsingham, variations for keyboard, MB 8  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  25. All in a garden green, variations for keyboard, MB 56  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  26. Rowland (or "Lord Willoughby's Welcome home"), variations for keyboard, MB 7  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  27. The Carman's Whistle, air & variations for keyboard, MB 36  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  28. Hugh Aston's Ground, for keyboard, MB 20  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  29. Fantasia, for keyboard in C major, No. 2, MB 25 "A Fancie"  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  30. Sellinger's Round, variations for keyboard, MB 84  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  31. Alman (Monsieur's Alman), for keyboard in G major, No. 1, MB 87  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  32. Prelude for keyboard in G minor, MB 1  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  33. Pavan & Galliard ("Sir William Petre"), for keyboard in G minor No. 2, MB 3  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  34. Fantasy, for keyboard in D minor, MB 46  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr
  35. Fantasia, for keyboard in C major, No. 3, MB 27  - William Byrd  - Keith Hill  - Elizabeth Farr

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