William Byrd, Christ rising again – voices and 4 viols

May 30, 2009

From Songs of sundrie natures, 1589, for two upper part voices and TrTTB viol quartet.  A run-through is potentially possible soon, so I’m consulting the Naxos recording by Rose Consort of Viols with Red Byrd, with six voices. Wonderful interval leaps in the opening bars from the voices reflecting the ‘rising again’, countered by the emphatic chordal treatment of “Death from hence forth no power on him’. This counter-play is repeated and the first part ends. The Secunda pars is in a contrasting 3/2. Similar triumph and joy in the second part, with a wonderful tangle around ‘restored to life’ to a strong, dramatic coda.

The trick for a successful outcome for the treble viol is that it’s all played on the lower octave. with lots of accidentals. The fast tempo requires quite a light touch.


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